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Wealth Awaiting in Ocean Biotechnology

GENERAL - There is a huge reservoir of high-quality food, biomedical compounds, renewable energy and many other important products in the oceans ready to be used for global economic growth.

According to the JakartaPost, marine biotechnology is the primary tool used for tapping into the tremendous economic potential of the oceans. Its industrial applications include the aquaculture, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, bio-energy, paper and agriculture industries.

Marine biotechnology may significantly increase aquaculture production in a sustainable fashion in two ways, says TheJakartaPost. First, it can enhance the growth rate, procreation proficiency, disease resistance, and ability to endure adverse environmental conditions of cultured organisms (e.g. fish, crustaceans, mollusks and seaweeds). The organism’s ability to grow and survive in intensive aquaculture will thus be improved, increasing yields.

Second, through biotechnology, vaccines can be developed against bacterial and viral diseases that commonly afflict marine biota. Vaccines protect cultured organisms from disease outbreaks that have periodically resulted in lower production and even harvest failure.

TheJakartaPost says that as part of their metabolic system, many marine biotas secrete bioactive compounds which incidentally have properties beneficial to human beings. Various types of bioactive compounds extracted from marine organisms posses antibiotic, antitumor, antiviral or antiinflammatory properties.

As technology improves, marine biota producing antiparasitic, pesticidal, immune-enhancing, growth-promoting and wound-healing chemicals will surely be discovered. In the last two decades, all these bioactive compounds have been used in the global pharmaceutical, food and beverage and aquaculture industries, generating more than US$100 billion annually.

Since less than 1 per cent of potentially useful chemical-producing marine organisms have been screened so far, the room for expansion of these industries is extraordinarily large.

the Fish Site Editor

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