Issue 3's archives
Can a simple sea protein hold the key to preserving your memory? Scientists in Madison Wisconsin are saying yes! In a breakthrough that could affect the lives of millions of Americans over 40, researchers have discovered a protein from the depths of the ocean that could actually protect our brain cells as we age.
Robert Pastore, PhD, member of the prestigious New York Academy of Sciences, explains “as you age, you lose about 30,000 brain cells a day and that impacts every aspect of your life…how you think and how you feel.”
Recently, scientists made a significant breakthrough, locating a calcium-binding protein (CaBP) called “apoaequorin,” that can help with a healthier brain, sharper mind and clearer thinking. Fortunately, apoaequorin is in the same family or class of proteins as those found in humans. And in a strange twist, it comes from one of nature’s simplest organisms — the jellyfish.
Recently, a cutting-edge U.S. biopharmaceutical company, Quincy Bioscience, formulated this vital protein derived from jellyfish into a product called Prevagen®. It’s the first and only supplement that restores CaBP levels and protects your brain cells from the ravages of time.
Scottish marine biotechnology company Aquapharm believes it has found a natural cure for dandruff in microbes in the sea off Scotland’s coast and is poised to strike a major deal with a European company that could add around £1m a year to the fledgling firm’s revenues.
Aquapharm, which is based at Dunstaffnage, near Oban, is developing a library of potential new drugs, treatments and antibiotics from the microbes found in marine environments. It identified the anti-fungal properties of the micro- organism after extensive research and is hopeful a commercial licensing deal will be struck in the global skincare and hair care markets over the next few months.
Treatment of cancer patients with anthracycline antibiotic doxorubicin (DOX) may be complicated by development of acute and chronic congestive heart failure (CHF), malignant arrhythmias and death. The aim of this study was to test whether an aqueous low molecular weight (LMW) extract from cod muscle decreases acute mortality in the mouse model of acute CHF caused by DOX. This effect may be mediated by cardioprotection through antioxidative mechanisms
Zhiyou Wen, assistant professor of biological systems engineering in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, found a way to grow these compounds using byproducts of the emerging biodiesel industry. He presented his findings at the 236th national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Philadelphia, Pa.
Made mainstream by its role in human-genome mapping, genetic-trait analysis, and forensics, deoxyribonucleic acid is also playing a role as a biopolymer for the creation of novel photonic devices.
Andrew Steckl and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati have used DNA to improve the efficiency of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) for illumination and displays. To make efficient biopolymers, a better understanding is needed of the chemical composition of the DNA material as it is synthesized from its low-density water environment to a dryer, condensed state. “DNA’s natural environment is water, but 99% of the [optoelectronic] devices we work on are solid-state,” says Andrew Steckl. While DNA in solution is being explored for use in optofluidic devices, Steckl sees three critical areas of research necessary to establish the commercial viability of DNA biopolymer-based photonic devices: ensuring an adequate material supply, perfecting the conversion from water-soluble to organic-solvent-soluble DNA, and controlling the “wet-to-dry” transition and understanding its effect on the DNA structure and properties.
Marinomed Biotechnologie GmbH Has Been Awarded Top Prize Honoring Discovery of Antiviral Properties in a Natural Marine ProductPosted On: May 11, 2009
The prestigious prize, presented by the Vienna branch of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, was awarded primarily in recognition of the speed at which the biotech company succeeded in turning its discovery into a marketable product. Through close cooperation with a partner company, the firm completed this process in just two years.
Carrageenan – a natural product from red seaweed, which has many uses in the food industry – has been exhaustively characterised. Or at least, that was the thinking up until 2005, when the Austrian biotechnology company Marinomed Biotechnologie GmbH discovered that Carrageenan has far more to offer than was previously thought. Not only does the natural substance provide the nasal mucous membrane with a long-lasting moist protective film (due to its high viscosity), it also protects against infections with common cold viruses. Due to its intimate understanding of the requisite development and approval processes, it took the company just two years to secure approval for a substance based on Carrageenan and its application in an innovative spray. Thanks to a collaboration with the Austrian company Sigmapharm Arzneimittel GmbH & CoKG, this substance is now available in Austrian pharmacies in the form of a nasal spray. It is the first product in the world to target the causes of the common cold.
The judging panel for Mercur 2008, the innovation award presented by the Vienna branch of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, decided to award Marinomed its top prize, worth 10,000 Euros, primarily because of how the company managed its discovery and went on to rapidly develop it.
Advances with membrane technology means lower price proteins from fish are available to food manufacturers globally, with potential to not only replace whey proteins in some applications, but offer a base protein ingredient.
Last year, GE Water and Process Technologies and Norcape Biotechnology turned their patented membrane filtration and separation technology to the fish protein industry.
Talking exclusively to FoodNavigator.com, Mark Rottmann, Market Director, Process Equipment Programs, said the supply of food grade fish protein isolates is already available.
It was not GE’s intention to position the fish ingredients as an alternative to whey protein isolates, said Rottmann, although the price of the fish-derived ingredients make it a cost-effective option for food manufacturers.
News out of France — Kalpariane is a new marine extract from the brown algae Alaria Esculenta which has been developed by BiotechMarine to nourish and protect the skin.
The extract has anti-collagenase and anti-elastase activity to preserve skin elasticity and skin suppleness by reducing elastin and collagen degradation. It contains omega-3 and omega-6 oils to reinforce the skins hydro-lipidic barrier. It is recommended for facial and skin firming products, as well as for products developed to prevent stretch marks and wrinkles.
New Zealand-based Industrial Research Ltd (IRL) has struck up a partnership with Fomana Capital to enable the company to develop high-value cosmeceutical and nutraceutical products from waste.
Under the agreement, Fomana Capital, the investment arm of the Federation of Maori Authorities (FOMA), will provide capital and raw materials and Industrial Research will provide the processing expertise.
Using Crown Research Institute’s science and engineering facilities, the companies will begin working with each other to develop fish oil products rich in omega-3.
The partners are planning to install a pilot plant and begin manufacturing lipids enriched with omega-3 fatty acids this year and then move to market before 2010.
In October, Finland’s VTT Technical Research Center, the largest applied research organization in Northern Europe, launched ENERFISH, a research project to derive biodiesel from the waste of fish processing plants in Vietnam. The project is scheduled to run through 2011.
ENERFISH assembled a biodiesel manufacturing plant near Hiep Thanh’s processing facility in Can Tho. Hiep Thanh Seafood produces 265,000 pounds of fish waste everyday, most of which was previously sold to feed producers.
ENERFISH also introduced an innovative cooling system using closed circuit CO2, which is 10 to 15 percent more efficient than conventional freezers, according to Dr. Hidde Ronde, a senior research scientist leading ENERFISH.