The sea, the great “blue pharmacy”, is a huge source of biological diversity and potent active ingredients. Inez Linke and Levent Piker talk about respectful handling in the podcast.

The diversity of the oceans seems infinite, the ecosystem itself still as unknown as the far side of the moon. Its sensitivity and importance to humans, however, we already suspect, especially when consequences for which humans are responsible, such as rising sea levels, lead to direct impacts on civilization and the economy.

oceanBASIS regularly researches and develops with universities and research institutions. The aim is to identify new opportunities for the sustainable use of marine resources. The circular economy plays a special role in sustainable use. We want to develop the possibilities of a circular economy in the marine bioeconomy together with the project partners in the “ÖkoPro” project.

“ÖkoPro” is a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is one of several projects within the Innovation Space BaMS – Bioeconomy on Marine Sites.

What is being researched and developed here?

High-quality microalgae biomass will be used to utilize nutrient-laden wastewater, heat, andCO2 generated in biogas operations. This is to be done entirely in the spirit of a sustainable circular economy. in particular, we want to integrate microalgae production into the agricultural process (exemplified by surface water treatment for biogas plants). It also aims to make microalgae production more efficient. Ultimately, we want to establish value-added recycling, which will come to fruition in the animal feed and cosmetics sectors. Examples of interesting concrete utilization possibilities are pigments, fatty acids or special carbohydrates.

Tasks of oceanBASIS

oceanBASIS develops process flows for the extraction and utilization of valuable substances from microalgae. We build on the experience we already have in processing marine macroalgae. Sometimes we transfer the methods slightly modified to the extraction of microalgae ingredients. In other cases, we need to develop techniques further.

Another task is to test the extracts from the microalgae in cosmetic formulations. The focus here is on identifying the specific areas of application and the spectrum of effects. The algae species and delivery states (fresh, frozen, dried) provided by the project partners go through the following steps:
– Comparison of cell disruption methods
– Tests of aqueous and fermentative extraction methods with stepwise isolation of target substance groups.
– Analytics/toxicology in collaboration with project partners
– Product development
– Provision of production residues for experiments on cascade use, e.g. as feedstuff

Naturally, product development focuses on recipe development. Here, the ingredients from microalgae are tested primarily for their suitability in cosmetic formulations. Of course, safety assessments and regulatory issues also play a role. Among other things, we want to clarify whether the use of microalgae extracts is compliant with Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 on cosmetic products. Since oceanBASIS markets a certified natural cosmetics, we also want to check to what extent the product developments are in line with the criteria of a NATRUE certification as natural cosmetics.

Project collaborators are Dr. Sven Petersen (contact person) and BcS Theresa Talg.

Project partners:

– 3N Competence Center Lower Saxony Network Renewable Resources and Bioeconomy e.V., Werlte (NDS)
– B.E.S GmbH & Co KG, Bad Bentheim (NDS)
– Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Botanical Institute, Kiel (SH)
– GICON Großmann Ingenieur Consult GmbH, Dresden (SN)
– Microganic GmbH, Melle (NDS)
– University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology for Natural Scientists, Kiel (SH)

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BmBF) within the framework of the Innovation Space Bioeconomy on Marine Sites (BamS).

The potential for food security and adding value to the living resources in the ocean seems endless. Today, more than 100 million tons of algae, fish, crabs and other organisms are already caught or cultivated in the sea every year, and more than 3 billion people obtain at least 20% of their animal protein requirements from fish.