Take the Ascidiae (image above), for example: invertebrates that live in rocky reefs and look a bit like coral, but are not. Several substances in these animals have been shown to be effective in fighting certain types of cancer, including ovarian, breast, prostate and lung cancer. There are also sea sponges that produce chemicals to protect themselves from attackers; some of these chemicals may also help against neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.
These creatures deserve to be studied more closely. “We can replicate them in the lab through biotechnology, rather than depleting the earth’s resources. I see that as the key to sustainable development in this century,” says Ana Brazão, Blue Bio Value project manager at the Oceano Azul Foundation in Portugal.
Since 2018, the Blue Bio Value programme has been helping start-ups in the blue bio economy through coaching, mentoring and funding. In addition to a national programme for the valorisation of ideas from Portuguese universities, there is also an international programme open to start-ups from all over the world, which make sustainable products from blue biomass: from bioplastics, pharmaceuticals, feed, food or textiles to new biomaterials.
Registration for the 2021 edition of Blue Bio Value will start on 27 May. Read more in the full article on Agro&Chemistry.
Image: Craig Lambert Photography/Shutterstock