Marine Biotechnology


The curricular unit (CU) is aimed at students who wish to acquire knowledge in ​​blue (marine) biotechnology through several approaches and concepts which are based on current knowledge and developments on the marine biodiversity and biotechnological applications from marine animals and plants.

The CU aims to provide students with knowledge on marine biodiversity and its biotechnological potential in several scientific areas (eg. pharmacology, biomedicine, environment). Students are expected to acquire knowledge about bioprospecting, animal culture methods and marine plants for extraction and identification of potential new products for biotechnological applications. It is intended that they acquire knowledge on some examples of several products developed from marine resources, and which are currently used in research and in industry. It is intended that they acquire knowledge of existing methodologies and techniques for the analysis and identification of compounds with biotechnological potential. It is intended that they gain practical experience in the identification of some marine species as well as in some techniques used in the analysis of compounds extracted from marine species. They are intended to gain knowledge on the EU strategy for blue biotechnology as well as the national and European strategy for the future development of this area.


It is expected that at the end of this CU students will have:

i) acquired competences on the theoretical principles inherent to blue biotechnology, including biodiversity and potential for the discovery and development of new compounds and products with biotechnological application.

ii) acquired competences on some methodologies and techniques currently used in the exploration, isolation and analysis of compounds extracted from marine resources

iii) acquired solid concepts regarding the processes of culture and some models currently existing and the issues of biosafety and ethics.

(iv) developing knowledge on the national and European strategy for blue biotechnology.

v) acquired the ability to analyze and integrate the results obtained in the practical sessions.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Mário Emanuel Campos de Sousa Diniz


Weekly - 1

Total - 30

Teaching language



General knowledge of biology, physiology, chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology


1-         Handbook of Marine Biotechnology Se-Kwon Kim (Ed.). Springer 2015.

DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-53971-8

2-         OECD (2013), Marine Biotechnology: Enabling Solutions for Ocean Productivity and Sustainability, OECD Publishing.

3-         Handbook of Marine Macroalgae Biotechnology and Applied Phycology. Se-Kwon Kim, 2012 JohnWiley & Sons, Ltd.


5-         MARINE BIOTECHNOLOGY IN THE TWENT FIRST CENTURY, PROMISE, AND PRODUCTS, 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences.

6-         Marine Products for Healthcare Functional and Bioactive Nutraceutical

Compounds from the Ocean, 2009 by Taylor & Francis Group.

Teaching method

Lectures (T)

Laboratory sessions (PL).


Evaluation method

The CU of Blue (marine) Biotechnology consists:

1. Lectures (T) and laboratory sessions (PL). The T sessions will total 21h. The PL consists in 3 sessions of 3h each.

2. The evaluation process includes the discussion of the work done in the laboratory sessions, as well as an assessment of the theoretical part though a 2h written test. Both components will contribute 50% to the final grade in the course.

3. Students will take the written test at the end of the CU. To be successful, the average test score must be equal to or greater than 9.5.

5. The exam includes the whole theoretical component and as in the written test, the exam score must be equal to or greater than 9.5.

Subject matter

1. Introduction to Blue Biotechnology. The role of Blue biotechnology in the development of the blue economy. Biodiversity and marine resources. The sustainable exploitation of marine resources. Blue biotechnology as a source of opportunity for product enhancement.
2. Marine resources with biotechnological potential; examples. Marine bioresources as a source of “new compounds” with commercial interest. The bioprospection of marine resources.
3. Production of marine organisms. Culture of marine microorganisms, microalgae, macroalgae culture, marine invertebrates, marine vertebrates. Optimization of production systems for marine biotechnology.
4. Biological models used in marine biotechnology.
5. Biomolecules from marine sources for use in human health and welfare. Nutraceuticals and cosmetics. Marine biotechnology as a source of new biomaterials. Blue biotechnology as a sustainable source of food. Blue biotechnology and sustainable alternative energy forms.
6. Examples: enzymes, biopolymers, industry biomaterials, and life sciences products (eg Pandalus borealis, shrimp used for alkaline phosphatase extraction with molecular biology applications; Aequorea victoria jellyfish that led to the characterization of GFP - Green Fluorescent Protein). Astaxanthin as an example of a high value multifunctional marine bioresource.
7. Marine biotechnology and environmental applications; antifouling compounds as an example. The contribution of blue biotechnology in environmental monitoring and protection. The use of marine bioresources in bioremediation strategies.
8. Methods and techniques applied to marine biotechnology: omics, proteomics, genomics and metabolomics. Immunoassays. Most common analytical techniques (eg LC-MS-MS, HPLC, GC-MS, Microscopy). Systems biology in marine biotechnology
9. Biosafety and ethical issues in blue biotechnology. Intellectual property. Blue biotechnology and societal challenges. The European strategy for blue biotechnology.
10. Future perspectives for the development of blue biotechnology

Practical classes - 3 sessions
1st session: identification of macroalgae using field guides and the use of microscopy for observation and identification of some microalgae species.
Session 2: Enzyme Activity - Determination of Lactate Dehydrogenase Activity
Session 3: Identification and quantification of Vitelogenin by ELISA


Programs where the course is taught: