Norway is in a unique position regarding marine biomass and these resources play an important role in our economy. The potential for value creation based on marine resources is however currently underexploited, and there is a need for development of new enabling technologies for realizing this potential. Polysaccharides of high commercial value are present in abundant marine biomasses. Polysaccharides have remarkable structural diversity providing specific properties and functions. They are attractive alternatives to oil based polymers in utilizing renewable resources, being biodegradable, and they can be designed with a large diversity of higher order structures.
The main goal of MARPOL is to develop innovative biomaterials by enzyme technology for modification and upgrading of polysaccharides from marine resources. This will increase quality and value of the polysaccharides and improve utilization of the relevant biomasses in a sustainable way. The target polysaccharides in MARPOL are chitin/chitosan from crustaceans, and alginate, fucoidan, ascophyllan and laminaran from brown algae.
The main expected achievements of MARPOL are 1) to obtain innovative biomaterials based on marine biomass of national importance for industrial, pharmaceutical and biomedical applications, 2) to increase value creation from marine biomass by refining and upgrading polysaccharides using enzymatic and chemical modifications 3) the generation of cross-sectorial technology such as characterization of biomass, polysaccharides and biomaterials, principles for enzyme evolution and biomaterial design.
Project consortium: MARPOL is a multidisciplinary project with complementary expertise of the collaborating partners from NTNU, SINTEF, UMB, UiT and the Norwegian industry partners FMC Health and Nutrition and AlgiPharma AS. The project is coordinated by Prof. Gudmund Skjåk-Bræk, Department of Biotechnology, NTNU.
The project is financed through the BIOTEK2021 program in The Norwegian Research Council.