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UCC Scientists Exploring Oceans for New Medicines

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UCC Scientists Exploring Oceans for New Medicines

Researchers at University College Cork (UCC) are part of a European consortium seeking to explore the largely unknown potential of the world’s oceans to protect people, animals and crops from disease.

The research project, officially entitled Marine Biodiversity as Sustainable Resource of Disease-Suppressive Microbes and Bioprotectants for Aquaculture and Crop Diseases, has been given the name MARBLES. The research team will specifically look for new antibiotics and antifungals as well as microbes that can serve as bioprotectants in agriculture and aquaculture. The European Union has awarded the project a total of €7.5m in the Horizon 2020 programme.

The marine environment remains a largely untapped and poorly understood source of natural products. Challenges include finding and identifying the bacteria and their molecules, extracting their active ingredients in a sustainable, effective way, and the commercial and regulatory difficulties of bringing a discovery from the lab to market. Synthetic chemicals currently used in pharmaceutical, agriculture and aquaculture have a devastating impact on marine life and this research is looking for sustainable solutions.

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