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Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2011-1 | Award Amount: 1.25M | Year: 2011

The main objective of the EXGENOMES project is to develop new and improved thermostable enzymes for use, as reagents, in large-scale DNA synthesis and/or that can act on unnatural components such as in LNA (Locked Nucleic Acids). The target source for the new enzymes is a range of self-replicating mobile genetic elements (phages, plasmids and transposons) from thermophilic bacteria. Increased understanding of self-replication in many mobile genetic elements, such as phi29, has now made the commercial development of new self-priming & strand-displacing polymerases and other enzymes, much more plausible. A number of candidate enzymes, such as a new transposon-coded Thermus DNA polymerase are at hand for this project in the thermophilic bacteria & phage genome bank at Matis. Nucleic acids based technologies now underpin a large and fast-growing industry, including research, diagnostics and pharmaceutical production. Thermophilic enzymes have played a key role in this development, as polymerases (DNA and RNA), ligases, nucleases, reverse transcriptases, polynucleotide kinases, lysozymes and more, are of great importance in the research industry today. The partner SMEs are all active players in this area from bioprospecting (Prokazyme), laboratory distribution (A&A Biotechnologies), LNA manufacture & diagnostics (Exiqon) to DNA vaccine production (Touchlight Genetics). Together with the highly competent RTD partners the consortium is well positioned to implement the project according to its goals. The successful development of new thermostable polymerases and other enzymes with the desired properties would have a substantial impact on strengthening the current market status of the SME partners, resulting in growth in income and employment.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2012-1 | Award Amount: 1.51M | Year: 2012

The main objective of the TASTE project is to develop flavour ingredients from edible seaweeds (Ascophyllum nodosum, Saccharina latissima, and Fucus vesiculosus) with the potential to replace sodium in food products. This can be done through two options, namely flavour enhancing properties or mineral content. Health authorities worldwide have recommended reducing salt in processed foods in order to reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Salt, i.e. sodium chloride, is a recognised flavour potentiator. Thus, the reduction of salt in food leads to reduced flavour besides a lack of salty taste. Seaweeds have a naturally salty taste being abundant in minerals like potassium, magnesium besides sodium. This salty taste improves the flavour profile of foodstuffs. In addition, some seaweeds contain a range of potential flavour components that can naturally enhance the flavour of the food. Mild processing can release potential flavour components like proteins, amino acids and reducing sugars. In particular, the proteinaceous compounds that are present in the seaweeds may be responsible for enhancing flavour characteristics (e.g. umami, meaty and roasted) in addition to providing textural mouth feel. The aim of the project is therefore to produce flavour-active building blocks from seaweeds by applying suitable processing and to develop flavour ingredients with these for application in different salt-reduced foods. By doing so, this project offers innovative processing solutions, new healthy flavour ingredients and novel approaches to meeting salt reduction targets to a group of SMEs in the food sector. This consortium is well positioned to implement the project according to its objective. Successful development of different flavour ingredients, with the properties to replace sodium in food products, will have a great impact on strengthening the current market status of the SME partners, resulting in growth in income and employment.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.3.2-01 | Award Amount: 9.93M | Year: 2012

SeaBioTech is a 48-month project designed and driven by SMEs to create innovative marine biodiscovery pipelines as a means to convert the potential of marine biotechnology into novel industrial products for the pharmaceutical (human and aquaculture), cosmetic, functional food and industrial chemistry sectors. SeaBioTech will reduce barriers to successful industrial exploitation of marine biodiversity for companies more accustomed to terrestrial biotechnology. SeaBioTech directly addresses five key challenges to remove bottlenecks in the marine biodiscovery pipeline, leading to (1) improvements in the quality of marine resources available for biotechnological exploitation, (2) improvement in technical aspects of the biodiscovery pipeline to shorten time to market, and (3) developing sustainable modes of supply of raw materials for industry. The two last challenges centre on enabling activities to enhance the marine biodiscovery process: first, clarification of legal aspects to facilitate access to marine resources, their sustainable use, and their secure exploitation; second, to create an improved framework for access to marine biotechnology data and research materials. To achieve its goals, SeaBioTech brings together complementary and world-leading experts, integrating biology, genomics, natural product chemistry, bioactivity testing, industrial bioprocessing, legal aspects, market analysis and knowledge exchange. The expertise assembled within the consortium reflects the industry-defined needs, from the SME partners initial definition of market and product opportunities to their ultimate proof-of-concept demonstration activities. SeaBioTech will have significant impact on research and technology, on innovation, on European competitiveness and on economic growth. It will provide a model to accelerate the development of European biotechnology into a world leading position.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE.2010.3.3-01 | Award Amount: 3.55M | Year: 2011

The aim of the AMYLOMICS project is to develop novel, robust enzymes for the starch and carbohydrate industries. The novel enzymes should enable the formation of new primary products, such as oligosaccharides of defined sizes, composition and degree of branching, new types of linkages, cyclic or more complex polysaccharides and an increased digestive resistance, as well as secondary sugar derivatives such as substituted starches, rare sugars or novel isomers. Fundamental to the success of the project will be the development of an efficient metagenomic platform technology for enzyme screening based on massive parallel 454 sequencing and microarray sequence capture. This platform will enable genome walking of complex metagenomic DNA and greatly facilitate the access to the largely unexplored wealth of genes in the environment. The starch industry is the most developed sector of the polysaccharide industry and European companies play a leading role in the world market. The industry is in a constant need for a range of robust enzymes that can be used for the synthesis, fractionation and/or modification of carbohydrates. It actively searches for sustainable and more economical alternatives to existing techniques, both for the production of novel higher value products and for the improvement of older processes. The metagenomic mining platform developed in the project is expected to provide a large number of robust thermophilic starch and carbohydrate modifying enzymes and lead to new and improved biocatalytic process technologies. Lead users of the projects results will be companies like the project partners Roquette Frres, a world leader in starch processing, Roche Molecular Systems, a leading providers of new tools, technologies and services in the genomic industry, and SME companies like Prokazyme who through the improvement of sequence based metagenomic bioprospecting platform can expand their product range of speciality products.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.3.2-01 | Award Amount: 8.15M | Year: 2012

Marine organisms, in particular sponges and their associated microorganisms, are an inexhaustible source of novel bioactive (lead) compounds for biomedical application. Industrial exploitation of this natural resource using traditional approaches is, however, hampered, with a few exceptions, by unsolvable supply problems - despite of numerous efforts in the past. Therefore, there is, very likely, only one way: to start from the genes encoding the bioproducts, or their biosynthetic pathways, to sustainably obtain the active molecules in sufficient amounts. The aim of the presented industry-driven integrating project is to combine the knowledge in marine genomics, chemogenetics and advanced chemistry to produce recombinantly prepared novel secondary metabolite (lead) compounds and analogous from them, as well as pharmacologically active peptides, and to bring them up to the pre-clinical, and hopefully also to the clinical studies. This ambitious approach is based on breakthrough discoveries and the results of previous successful EU projects of members of the applying consortium, including European leaders (or worldwide leaders) in marine (sponge) genomics, metagenomics (polyketide synthase clusters), combinatorial biosynthesis and marine natural product chemistry/structure elucidation. This multidisciplinary project, driven by high-tech genomics-based SMEs with dedicated interest in bringing marine-biotechnology-derived products to the market, will also involve the discovery and sustainable production of bioactive molecules from hitherto unexploited extreme environments, such as hydrothermal vents and deep-sea sources, and the expression/scale-up of unique enzymes/proteins of biomedical and biotechnological interest. The molecular-biology-based strategies developed in this project for a sustainable exploitation of aquatic molecular biodiversity will further strengthen the international position and effectiveness of European (SME-based) blue biotechnology industry.

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