Marine Biotechnology

Marine Biotechnology definition


Trivesh S. Mayekar, Amod A. Salgaonkar, J.M.Koli, Pravin Patil, Ajit Chaudhari, Anup Murkar*, Sameer Salvi*, Devendra Surve*, Rakesh Jadhav*, Tousif kazi*.

Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Seven Bungalow, Versova, Mumbai-400061

*College of Fisheries, Ratnagiri


Marine (or blue) biotechnology encompasses the applications of biotechnology tools on marine resources. Marine biotechnology encompasses those efforts that involve the marine resources of the world, either as the source or target of biotechnology applications. Biotechnology is the application of science and technology to living organisms, as well as parts, products and models thereof, to alter living or non-living materials for the production of knowledge, goods and services'. In the case of marine biotechnology, the living organisms derive from marine sources. Biotechnology is defined as the industrial use of living organisms or biological techniques developed through basic research; marine biotechnology is an emerging discipline based on the use of marine natural resources. The oceans encompass about 71% of the surface of our planet, but over 99% of the biosphere (since organisms are found throughout the water column), and they represent the greatest extremes of temperature, light, and pressure encountered by life. Adaptation to these harsh environments has led to a rich marine bio- and genetic-diversity with potential biotechnological applications related to drug discovery, environmental remediation, increasing seafood supply and safety, and developing new resources and industrial processes.

Drug discovery represents one of the most promising and highly visible outcomes of marine biotechnology research. Biochemicals produced by marine invertebrates, algae and bacteria, are very different than those from related terrestrial organisms and thus offer great potential as new classes of medicines. To date, examples of marine-derived drugs include an antibiotic from a fungi, two closely related compounds from a sponge that treat cancer and the herpes virus, and a neurotoxin from a snail that has painkiller properties making it 10, 000 times more potent than morphine without the side effects. However, there are several more marine-derived compounds currently in clinical trials and it is likely that many more will advance to the clinic as more scientists look to the sea for these biotechnological uses. In addition to new medicines, other uses for marine-derived compounds include: cosmetics (algae, crustacean and sea fan compounds), nutritional supplements (algae and fish compounds), artificial bone (corals), and industrial applications (fluorescent compounds from jellyfish, novel glues from mussels, and heat resistant enzymes from deep-sea bacteria).

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