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Mar3Bio – Biorefinery and biotechnological exploitation of marine biomasses

The marine biomasses used in Mar3Bio are brown algae and crustacean byproducts which are sources of the marine polysaccharides alginate and chitosan. These abundant but underexploited renewable biomasses have great potential for production of high value biomolecules.

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Alginate is found in the stem and in the leaves of brown algae like Laminaria hyperborea
Alginate is found in the stem and in the leaves of brown algae like Laminaria hyperborea

The current bottlenecks for a bio-refinery focusing on these raw materials are low yields, high energy consumption and incomplete spectrum of recovered biomolecules. Mar3Bio focus on development of efficient and sustainable bio-refinery processes for exploitation of the selected biomasses. The main objective is to advance technology beyond state-of-the-art to increase the yield and quality of the products arising from early process streams by optimizing the isolation and fractionation steps performed on the raw materials. Furthermore, selected fractionated biomolecules will be modified to yield high value products. Specifically the main objectives are 1) to increase the quality, reproducibility and yield of the primary products alginate and chitosan by development of non-destructive enzymatic-based pretreatment of the respective biomasses, 2) to further expand the product spectrum obtained from algal biomass to include fucoidan and laminaran, 3) to create selected added value products targeting new application areas based on chemical and enzymatic modifications and up-grading of the primary polysaccharides, 4) recover more valuable components in waste streams and 5) reduce the use of energy, water, harsh and toxic chemicals in biomass processing.

The project is coordinated by SINTEF and partners are Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Trieste (Italy), National Institute of Chemistry (Slovenia), MATIS (Iceland) and FMC Biopolymer AS (Norway).

The project is financed through the first call of the Marine Biotechnology ERA-NET (funded under the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme).

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Project duration

01/01/2016 - 31/12/2018