BPE-35803 Marine Biotechnology


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. SA Pomponi
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. JJM Vervoort
prof. dr. SA Pomponi
prof. dr. ir. RH Wijffels
dr. ir. D Sipkema
K Hesp
Examiner(s)dr. ir. JJM Vervoort
prof. dr. SA Pomponi
dr. ir. D Sipkema
prof. dr. ir. RH Wijffels

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Marine invertebrate biology, organic chemistry, genomics, bioreactor design

Continuation courses:

Thesis BPE


Marine biotechnology aims to develop methods to discover and produce novel products originating from marine organisms; these are products that could contribute to a better health, such as bioactive compounds that can be used for new medicines, engineered tissues, fine chemicals and new food and feed ingredients. The course consists of the following parts:
1. Product discovery and identification
Identification of chemical structures of biological components. LogP, UV/VIS, LC-MS/GC-MS characteristics and NMR data will be discussed and applied to unknown molecules.
2. Marine metagenomics
Marine microorganisms are the primary source of many novel biological components. However, most of them cannot be cultured and therefore their biotechnological potential remains locked. Metagenomics offers an alternative route to exploitation of their metabolites and enzymes without the need to grow them. The different state-of-the-art metagenomics strategies will be discussed in order to provide a full overview of the usefulness and potential of metagenomics.
3. Cell culture of marine sponges
In addition to microbes, marine sponges are also a very rich source of chemical and structural components that have biomedical applications, including drugs, engineered tissues, and bone and dental implants. The focus will be on strategies to produce these products in a technologically and economically feasible way. This will be done via the development of case studies for sponge cell culture.
5. Capita selecta
New developments in the field of marine biotechnology will be presented via guest lectures.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- perform identification of biomarker components; [apply]
- review the possibilities of the metagenomics toolbox and judge what is the best metagenomics strategy to solve specific cases, such as reconstruction of individual genomes, discovery of enzymes or secondary metabolites; [understand, analyse]
- design strategies for production of chemicals or other materials from sponges; [create]
- integrate techniques and approaches from different disciplines (chemistry, genomics and engineering) to generate interdisciplinary approaches for marine biotechnological processes [create].
In order to achieve these learning outcomes the students will be taught state-of-the-art expertise in the different disciplines that make up advanced marine biotechnology and hands-on experience of the technical aspects that are needed, such as natural product chemistry, NMR, mass spectroscopy and metagenomics.


The teaching entails a combination of practical computer courses (for product discovery identification), lectures (for marine metagenomics and sponge biotechnology), work assignments (cell  culture of marine sponges) and guest lectures on new developments in the field of marine biotechnology.


Examination will be done via reports and presentation of cases (25%) and a written exam (75%).


A reader with the course guide is available at the start of the course.

Restricted Optional for: MBTBiotechnologyMScA: Spec. A - Cellular/Molecular Biotechnology6AF
MBTBiotechnologyMScD: Spec. D - Process Technology6AF
MBTBiotechnologyMScC: Spec. C - Medical Biotechnology6AF