Project Details


Biocare Marine was a cross-border research and development consortium from the EU Interreg 2 Seas area (North Sea and English Channel). Our objectives were to isolate, characterise and sustainably utilise marine biomolecules applicable to human healthcare for the social and economic benefit of the region.

The scientific rationale for this approach is compelling. The ocean represents a vast and relatively untapped resource where the organisms therein have evolved a myriad of mechanisms to survive in this changing and demanding environment. These include antimicrobial substances to help out-compete neighbouring organisms for space on rocks, gelatinous substances (polysaccharides) to prevent dehydration and provide structure, and defences against toxic metal poisoning.

By identifying, isolating and harvesting these biomolecules (in vitro), we can apply them in the fight against. Our consortium will instigate a programme of screening of marine isolates for these beneficial features, as well as utilising its existing stocks of putative marine pharmaceuticals. The selected biomolecules will be fabricated into functional products using our shared knowledge of materials science.

Layperson's description

The project sought to build a cross-border network of expertise in the identification and utilisation of local marine biomolecules for health and the environment. By identifying, isolating and harvesting biomolecules from the sea, we sought to apply them in the fight against disease. Our consortium instigated a programme of screening of marine isolates (e.g. from bacteria, algae and shellfish) for these beneficial features, as well as utilising its existing stocks of putative marine-based pharmaceuticals.

The scientific objectives of Biocare Marine were to:
- discover and functionalise new antimicrobial agents. The well known advent of broad spectrum resistance of infectious bacteria to conventional treatments represents a grave threat to our current and future well-being. Biocare Marine will evaluate promising alternative antimicrobial agents held by the consortium that have been sourced from the marine environment, where they are produced by marine organisms as a survival mechanism.
- construct novel wound dressings and tissue regeneration scaffolds using marine biomolecules that hold great promise for the treatment of chronic wounds, and for the remodelling and reconstruction of skin in burns victims. Chronic wounds and burns impose huge socio-economic burdens on the local populace and healthcare providers of the 2 Seas- Channel region.
- utilise the specialised polysaccharides produced by marine bacteria to construct heavy metal capture-systems using an advanced technology platform. Toxic heavy metals cause environmental and health damage and present a significant threat to human wellbeing. By developing ways to capture and remove these metals (as marine creatures have done) we can help address these threats.
Effective start/end date1/06/1130/09/14


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