CIESM International Conference on East - West Cooperation in Marine Science
(Sochi, 1-3 December 2014)

Abstracts of Panel communications


Panel [A] - Physical processes in coastal waters
Panel [B] - Geo-hazards
Panel [C] - Invasive species
Panel [D] - Contaminants & marine litter
Panel [E] - Marine biotechnology & society
Panel [F] - Data harmonization

Panels abstracts

Panel [E] - Marine biotechnology & society

co-moderators : Drs Laura Giuliano and Antonina Podkorytova

Title : Mariculture in southern Russia: objects, technologies and prospects
by Irina Burlachenko, Yakhontova I.
Russian Federal Research Inst., Moscow, Russia

Summary :
Mariculture in the southern seas of Russia, though is a part of the Mediterranean aquaculture, has a number of features. They are caused by a wide range of temperatures and low water salinity. The fauna of the seas represented marine, brackish and partly freshwater species of fish and invertebrates. Meanwhile the range of aquaculture species is relatively narrow.
Traditional objects of lagoon aquaculture in Azov and Black Sea region are striped mullet Mugil cephalus and golden mullet Liza saliens. In the 1970s the list was supplemented of Far Eastern haarder Mugil soiuy. Huge interest for aquaculture represents the Black Sea turbot Psetta maxima maeotica. Technology for production of juvenile mullet and turbot were developed in Russia in 80-90e years. Commercial cultivation of turbot was also successfully developed. At the turn of the century technologies of cultivation of Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) and European (flat) oysters (Ostrea edulis) were also successfully tested. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the research in this direction were almost stopped. However, today we stand on the threshold of a new rise of the Black Sea aquaculture: regulatory framework is almost formed, research resumed. Promising species for cage aquaculture in the region are native fish species e.g. sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), light croaker (Umbrina cirrosa) and bluefish (Pomatomus saltator). We are confident in the success of the Azov-Black Sea aquaculture, as we will be able to use the achievements of Mediterranean aquaculture and avoid its mistakes.


Title : Streamlining the marine enzyme discovery process towards applications: current and future research windows
by Manuel Ferrer
CSIC, Madrid, Spain

Summary :
Mining the new activities for basic and biotechnological applications from microbial biodiversity through metagenomics has been brought to a new recognized technological level. With metagenomics, the DNA of microbial communities is directly harvested from the environment, sequenced and bioinformatic analysis and expression is then performed in surrogate microbial hosts enabling screening for enzymes of interest whose activities can be further evaluated. This has already been shown to facilitate the discovery of new microbes and enzymes with novel activities of industrial relevance. Here, recent successful examples are provided that suggest not only that newly discovered enzymes from the Mediterranean Sea (including Deep Sea), Red Sea and south-eastern Barents Sea have properties far distant of those previously reported, but also that they can serve as indicators of global warming and future biotech developments. The geochemical and geographical constraints characterizing marine habitats, and these three sites in particular, seem to directly correlate with the evolution of mechanisms underlying enzyme´s versatility (promiscuity and stability), a feature that is greatly appreciated at industrial scale. These novel features of marine enzymes contrast with the fact marine sites have been by far less investigated than terrestrial ones in terms of enzyme content. As example, only about 4% of the total number of enzymes discovered to date after examination of circa 2,000 different natural sites distributed all over the Planet, were from marine origin. Therefore, the biotechnological potential of marine enzymes is under-exploited.
A timeline of several years (up to 7 years) from enzyme identification to biotech process establishment, is the reality rather than the exception. Therefore, to be “the first in class” with new molecules to be produced by marine enzymes that are brought into the market, is crucial to start understanding the enzyme content of marine habitats on a large scale. If the hit rate for identifying versatile marine enzymes with high turn-over rates under real application conditions could be increased, while covering a high marine natural diversity, very limited to date, it can be expected that also the very further expensive and time-consuming enzyme optimization and process implementation phases could be significantly shortened. Particularly, marine habitats with unique characteristics such as Mediterranean (including deep sea hypersaline basins) and Black Seas, might be prioritized. This suggestion is based on estimations about the performance of enzymes in these environments and the fact that these sites has been neglected to enzyme research, and provided estimations for that.
Metagenomics, as well as other “-omics” approaches, in combination with biocatalysis-based methods, should be positioned at determinant technologies for marine biotechnology. Here, current challenges, bottlenecks and future research windows related to streamlining the marine enzyme discovery process towards the application, through these technologies, are provided. In addition to that, this presentation uncovers novel perspectives of relevance for marine biology and marine biotechnology. Particularly, I discuss the utilization of metabolomics, or the "systematic study of the unique chemical fingerprints that specific microbial processes leave behind", for identifying marine hotspots with distinct metabolic (including enzyme) activities.


Title : The potential of regional seas for Marine Biotechnology
by Laura Giuliano
CIESM, The Mediterranean Science Commission, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Summary :
Feeding on the use of new products and processes from the sea with (by definition) low environmental impact, Marine Biotechnology has a great potential for boosting emerging industries. It therefore represents an excellent opportunity to set up new solutions for policy, market and industrial sectors. Based on bio-prospecting exercises, namely the prospecting for marine genetic resources (MGRs), marine biotechnology provides the basis for assessment of the marine resources and the related definition of marine landscapes’ value. It also calls for legal instruments and frameworks accommodating multi-lateral agreements (MLAs) at ecologically meaningful scale.

The regional seas offer the most appropriate and effective scale to test their effects.

They often host high species richness, exceptional concentrations of endemic species and a diversity of easy-to-reach extreme environments that harbour unique forms of life (particularly microbes) and remarkable ecological processes. This is particularly true of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Contextual marine resources assessment exercises can help to implement specified regional-based initiatives from marine environmental policies.

Bordering different countries (and often different continents), regional seas usually interact with highly diversified economic and socio-cultural systems, so that requiring new models of collaboration and marine co-governance with a view to better secure the various user communities’ needs. In return, they benefit of expanding markets, available raw material, and labour and cost differential.

Due to the generally complex geopolitical features of regional seas, Marine Biotechnology regional pilot exercises would take great advantage of special grants for financing skilled workforce from abroad and financial mechanisms for risk sharing (i.e. guarantees, insurances). Participatory cluster organisations (i.e. cross sector platforms & pilot plants) may represent the way forward to promote technology transfer and entrepreneurial culture, and to facilitate funding.


Title : Marine biotechnology in North Africa: potential and challenges
by Amel Hamza-Chaffai
Sfax Univ. - Marine Ecotoxicology, Sfax, Tunisia

Summary :
Life started in the oceans since three billion years, and has developed an incredible diversity of living organisms. The most promising organisms are those living in extreme environments or which have no mechanical protection. Organisms attached to the seabed defend themselves by producing repulsive or toxic substances to prevent their opponents to colonize their living space or to discourage their predators. These defensive substances are of great interest because they could have some properties such as biocidal, cytotoxic, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic characters that have potential applications related to drug discovery, wellness industry, environmental remediation, increasing seafood supply and safety.
Molecules produced by marine invertebrates, algae and bacteria, are very different from those related terrestrial organisms and thus offer great potential as new classes of molecules. Bioactive molecules from sea organisms have potential applications in pharmaceutical, wellness industry, environmental remediation, increasing seafood supply and safety.
Examples of marine-derived drugs include an antibiotic from fungi; compounds from sponges are able to treat cancer and the herpes virus, and a neurotoxin from a snail that has painkiller properties. Other uses for marine-derived compounds include: cosmetics (algae, crustacean and sea fan compounds), nutritional supplements (algae and fish compounds), artificial bone (corals), and industrial applications (fluorescent compounds from jellyfish, novel glues from mussels, and heat resistant enzymes from deep-sea bacteria).
The Mediterranean Sea represents 0.8% of the oceans total area. However, it represents globally 7.3% of ocean species richness (11% for algae, 4% for Invertebrates, and 6% for Vertebrates). Moreover, the Mediterranean Sea has the highest species density (about 5.8 species per 1000 km2 compared to the ocean species density: 0.8 species per 1000 km2. Even if Marine biotech patenting remains very low in the Mediterranean area, we can mention some success stories about Mediterranean endemic species such as the marine sponges Tethya aurantium showing the singular ability to synthesize their siliceous skeleton enzymatically (silicateins) with possible applications in electronics and medicine. Another example is about Mussel Sticky Gel from Mythilus galloprovinciallis useful in biomedical setting as surgical adhesive or as a bouding agent for implants. Posidonia oceanic were investigated showing antidiabetic, antioxidant, vasoprotective uses.
In the southern part of Mediterranean Sea, North African countries represent 8201 km of coastlines, about 18% of the Mediterranean total coastlines. Species density and diversity is very high which offer huge possibilities to develop marine biotechnology sector. As a first comparison criterion, we can take as a reference, a ratio (coastline/area) index (C/A index). We can establish the following order: Tunisia (7 ‰), Libya (2.58 ‰), Egypt (2.4 ‰), Libya (1 ‰), and Algeria (0.4 ‰).
For Tunisia, in addition to the advantage of a high ratio, the Tunisian experience in the field or marine biotech shows many signs of growth and interest. In fact, since 1998, research was organized; research centers, business incubators and Techno parks were created all over the country. The field of marine biotechnologies was highly impacted by the above mentioned strategy in research and innovation. Many research groups and startups are dealing with different marine organisms such as fish, crustacean, mollusks, jellyfish, macro algae, microalgae, etc… In the case of Morocco, many projects dealing with marine biotechnologies (microalgae and microalgae) were developed. However, for others countries such as Egypt Algeria and Libya, marine biotechnology sector remain limited and presents several gaps. In the present work, potential and challenges in North African countries will be presented and discussed.


Title : Aqua - mariculture of invertebrates in the coastal zone of the Black Sea
by Nikolina P. Kovatcheva, Zagorsky I.A.
Russian Federal Research Inst., Moscow, Russia

Summary :
In recent years, the cultivation of invertebrates is an important direction for aqua- and mariculture in East and Central Europe, and particularly Russia. A strong tendency of aquaculture revival has arisen according to high demand of delicacy seafood on one hand and sharp decline of populations of commercially important hydrobionts on the other hand.
At the present day the most valuable cultivated objects are crustaceans, (shrimps, crabs and crayfish) and shellfish (mussels and oysters).
Crustacean cultivation is one of the most promising areas for aquaculture development in Russia. Statistics from recent years show that this sector of industry has slightly developed. Success of the realization of the crustacean aquaculture’s potential depends on the availability of scientific support and participation of small and medium businesses in this area. On the one hand, there is a growing demand for crustacean meat (red king crab, prawn, crayfish), on the other hand, there are opportunities allowing developing the cultivation and reproduction of these animals, filling the market with product and creating new jobs.
Developing perspective stands in the area of reproduction and cultivation of marine and freshwater crustaceans and other marine invertebrates in the natural and artificial conditions is the main principal activity of scientists of VNIRO, Moscow.
Main objects of the study are giant freshwater prawn – Macrobrachium rosenbergii, narrow-clawed crayfish Pontastacus leptodactylus and noble crayfish Astacus astacus, cold water crabs (red king crab) – Paralithodes camtschaticus.
The development of the scientifically-proved methods of artificial reproduction and cultivation of these species can significantly increase natural stocks and productivity of farms of delicacy marine and freshwater products in Russia.
Moreover VNIRO developed technology for cultivation of Mediterranean mussels and Pacific oysters. According to expert estimates up to 15 000 tons of shellfish per year can be produced on the Russian Black Sea coast.
Development of aqua - mariculture of invertebrates in the coastal zone of the Black Sea is an important factor for maintaining the number of valuable commercial species and the conservation of biodiversity in the Black Sea area.
This requires the support of regional and federal authorities and creation of an effective mechanism for sustainable development.
The scientists of VNIRO are ready to provide technical assistance and scientific support for projects.


Title : Genetic monitoring of artificial reproduction of sturgeon
by Nikolai Mugue
Russian Federal Research Inst., Moscow, Russia

Summary :
Recent catastrophic depletion of wild sturgeon stocks of the ?lack and Azov Seas demands urgent increase of efficacy of the State-running sturgeon restocking farms. Until recently, fingerlings production was based on artificial fertilization by eggs and sperm from wild sturgeons caught during spawning migration. Scarcity of wild adults led to rapid increase in use of aquaculture fish, and this put restocking program in jeopardy by possible severe inbreeding and genetic degradation. We have developed and implemented on over 3500 fish an individual sturgeon genetic profile based on mtDNA haplotype and allelic composition for five highly polymorphic in all sturgeon species microsatellite loci. Based on these genetic profiles, proper breeding plan can be proposed and also the progeny of genotyped parents can be traced after release in the wild. Implementation of genetic monitoring will enhance current efforts for sturgeon population rehabilitation in the Azov-Black fisheries basins.


Title : Biologically active polysaccharides of the brown algae
by Anatoliy I. Usov, A.V.Podkorytova
N.D.Zelinsky Inst. of Organic Chem. RAS, Moscow, Russia

Summary :
Brown algae are a class (Phaeophyceae) of big marine photosynthesizing plants (macrophytes), which have diverse practical application mainly due to their unique polysaccharides. Brown algae contain storage (1?3,1?6)-?-D-glucans (laminarans) and two types of structural polysaccharides, alginic acids and fucoidans. Alginic acids and their salts (alginates) are produced industrially in large scale and used as structuring agents in food technology, biotechnology and medicine. Two other classes of polysaccharides are known as biologically active biopolymers. Laminarans and some of their chemical or enzymatic modification products often have immunomodulating properties. Fucoidans, which are usually very complex sulfated heteropolysaccharides, are studied now especially thoroughly. Continuously increasing interest to these polysaccharides is explained by their high and diverse biological activity, the most promising for practical use being anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antitumor properties of fucoidans. Evidence on the chemical structure of alginic acids and fucoidans and contemporary status of the structural analysis of these polysaccharides may be found in the reviews [1,2]. Elucidation of the chemical structure of polysaccharides after their isolation as individual compounds is based on combination of chemical and physico-chemical methods of structural analysis, the most powerful physico-chemical method being the nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. For preliminary investigation of polysaccharide composition of brown algae a spectrophotometric procedure for determination of alginate and fucoidan content was developed [3]. Application of this procedure to many brown algal species made it possible to collect evidence on their polysaccharide composition prior to isolation of polysaccharides. From the species found in the Black Sea, according to their productivity and extent to which they have spread along the coasts of the Crimea and the Caucasus, the most interesting are the representatives of the genus Cystoseira. Complex treatment of these species may be used for practical preparation of all the three classes of polysaccharides mentioned above [4].
1. A.I.Usov. Alginic acids and alginates: methods for analysis, determination of the composition and structure. // Russ. Chem. Rev., 68(11), 957-966 (1999).
2. A.I.Usov, M.I.Bilan. Fucoidans – sulfated polysaccharides of the brown algae. // Russ. Chem. Rev. 78(8), 785-799.
3. A.I.Usov, G.P.Smirnova (2003), A new procedure for determination of alginate and fucoidan in brown seaweeds. // Proceedings of the XVIIth International Seaweed Symposium. / A.R.O.Chapman, R.J.Anderson, V.J.Vreeland and I.R.Davison, eds., Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 209?212.
4. Podkorytova A.V., Vafina L.H. Chemical composition of Brown algae from the Black Sea: genus Cystoseira, perspectives for their use// M.:VNIRO Publishing. V.150. 2013. P.100-107.


Title : Chitin and Chitosan in modern Biotechnology
by Valery Varlamov
Russian Academy of Sciencies, Moscow, Russia

Summary :
Studies of the specific role of carbohydrate-containing biopolymers are now one of the "hot spots" of modern biotechnology and related disciplines, combined under the name of «Life sciences" or "Living systems". Especially it has been noted a natural polysaccharide Chitin and its derivative - Chitosan. Over the past 10-15 years, studies of Chitin and Chitosan became a separate branch of science called "Chitinology." An important properties of these biopolymers is practically unlimited potential for targeted chemical and enzymatic modification, which allows to obtain substances of a variety molecular weight from 1 000 000 Da up to D-Glucosamine (by chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis), and with a variety of groups and substituents. Finally, through certain physical and chemical impacts it is possible to obtain stable nanoparticles (10-100 nm) with a zeta potential between +30 and -30 mV. It should be emphasized an ability of Chitosan to form complexes and composites with other polysaccharides, proteins, nucleic acids, melanins. These allows to obtain different polyelectrolyte complexes and composites for targeting drug delivery, for transfer of genetic information, for removing of allergens from milk whey, for receiving dietary supplements with medicinal plants extracts. Of particular note is the opportunity of creation of effective biologic wound coverings and medical implants. From the crustaceans living in the Black Sea, the most important species such as lobster, crab, shrimp, crayfish. Chitin-containing waste from cuts must be used for the production of biologically active Chitosan and its use as dietary supplements, in the pharmaceutical industry and other directions.

K.Skryabin, S.Mikhailov, V.Varlamov (Eds.) Book “ CHITOSAN”// Centre”Bioengineering” RAS, 2013,593p. ISBN 978-5-4253-0596-1


Title : Calm and frenzy, feast and famine of marine PAH-degrader Cycloclasticus zankles 7ME as revealed by physiological studies and omic analyses
by Michail M. Yakimov, Simone Cappello, Renata Denaro and Maria Genovese
IAMC-CNR, Messina, Italy

Summary :
In many petroleum contaminated marine ecosystems all over the world including shallow and deep-sea water and sediments, marine bacteria of genus Cycloclasticus are recognized as the predominant players in aerobic breakdown of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon compounds (PAH). The genus name refers to ‘‘ring-breaking’’ activity, i.e. to the capability to degrade the PAHs consisting of up to four-five condensed rings. Based on comprehensive study included physiology, modern molecular biology and bioinformatics approaches, we demonstrated the life style of Cycloclasticus, highlighting the environmental factors governing its prosperity. The work was performed with Cycloclasticus zankles 7ME recently isolated from tar residues collected in Mediterranean Sea at tanker Haven’s wreck. This accident, happened 22 years ago and released > 40,000,000 gallons of crude oil, is considered as one of top-ten oil spills in the human history.

One of remarkable features of Cycloclasticus is its narrow substrate range delimiting by an uptake of almost exclusively PAHs, alkyl-PAHs, nitrogen- and sulphur-containing PAHs. The genome of Cycloclasticus zankles 7ME contains three large operons with more than fifteen different enzymes belonging to four different classes of ring-cleavage dioxygenases. Subtractive proteome analysis revealed that transcriptional activation of various operons depends on the amount of condensed rings in PAHs. This finding explained how these bacteria regulate the pathways when high-molecular weight PAHs compounds are present together. Cycloclasticus zankles 7ME does not produced siderophores and is highly specialized to uptake the iron from the environment applying the “cheating” strategy, which might explain the difficulties in its cultivation in a pure culture.