The Genus Haslea, New marine resources for blue biotechnology and Aquaculture
The GHaNA project aims to explore and characterize a new marine bioresource, for blue biotechnology applications in aquaculture, cosmetics and possibly food and health industry. The project will determine the biological and chemical diversity of Haslea diatoms to develop mass-scale production for viable industrial applications by maximising biomass production and associated high-value compound production, including terpenoids, marennine-like pigments, lipids and silica skeletons. The genus Haslea species type H. ostrearia, produces marennine, a water-soluble blue pigment used for greening oysters in Western France, which is also a bioactive molecule. Haslea diatoms have thus a high potential for use in (1) existing oyster farming, (2) production of pigments and bioactive compounds with natural antibacterial properties, (3) application as a colouring agent within industry, and (4) use of silica skeletons as inorganic “biocharges” in the formulation of new elastomeric materials. This will be achieved through fundamental and applied-oriented research to isolate fast- growing strains of Haslea, optimising their growth environment to increase marennine and other high-value compound productivity; to develop blue biotechnology specifically applied to benthic microalgae (biorefinery approach, processes); and to develop industrial exploitation of colouring and bioactive compounds through commercial activities of aquaculture, food, cosmetics and health.