Innovative cultivation methods for marine biodiscovery

Despite their well-recognized potential, marine bioactive molecules are still difficult to source due to a lack of controlled culturing and processing infrastructures. Furthermore, their chemical synthesis is hampered by their chemical complexity as well. The marine environment is largely affected by global change and wild harvesting of marine bioresources does not represent a sustainable supply of these biomolecules. The main sources of the high-value biomolecules are corals, sponges, algae, involving industrial end-users in the medical and pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic sectors. Therefore, new approaches are urgently needed in marine biotechnology as microbial engineering has not fully met the expectations for producing the marine bioactives identified in invertebrates and seaweeds.

Recent advances in the synthetic biology of terrestrial natural products are offering unique opportunities to supply bioactives of terrestrial origin. Omics technologies have also transformed the way the complexity of the marine holobiont can be viewed and today the integration of omics data such as genomics and metabolomics can increase our understanding of the functioning and processes of living organisms including their metabolic pathways.

COMBO will:

  • allow the transfer of knowledge from terrestrial to marine biotechnology through the engineering of marine metabolic pathways using Omics approaches
  • exploit the recent advances in co-cultures systems
  • expand the potential offered by underused marine sponges and seaweeds known to produce bioactives such as terpenoids and alkaloids for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical markets

ACTIVITIES of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant

BBEPP will be responsible for the scale-up of the sponge cell lines.



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Programme under Grant Agreement number: 101135438.

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