Nano3Bio for Press and Media
New factsheet including major achievements available
Nano3Bio, the European funded project on third generation chitosans just released a new factsheet. The document has a scale of two pages and provides an overview on the multiple potentials as well as chosen outcomes of the project. "Chitosans are an amazing class of functional biopolymers, perhaps the most versatile and most promising one. Nano3Bio has already created a host of innovations in this field", the consortium states in the document. Furthermore the factsheet briefly describes so far major achievements of the project. It is downloadable for free from the Nano3Bio website www.nano3bio.eu.
Get the new Nano3Bio factsheet and learn more: Download now ...
Biotechnology provides novel chitosans
Chitosans are a promising class of biopolymers with many potential applications, but the chitosans commercially available today often do not fulfil the requirements for sensitive markets such as pharmaceutics or cosmetics. One problem lies in batch-to-batch differences typically observed with chitosans produced from shrimp shell chitin, a waste by-product of shrimp peeling factories. Also, the animal origin of these chitosans is sometimes considered as problematic. Therefore, the Nano3Bio consortium aims to produce well defined chitosans with known structures and functionalities through biotechnological approaches. The tools required for this approach come from nature itself, namely enzymes such as chitin synthase which produce chitin from small sugar molecules, and chitin deacetylases which convert chitin into chitosans. Work at the University of Münster, the co-ordinating partner of the Nano3Bio project, has now identified a number of genes from different organisms - bacteria, fungi, viruses, algae - that appear to code for chitin deacetylases. These genes were used to drive the biotechnological production of the enzymes they encode. The recombinant enzymes were then characterised and used for the biotechnological conversion of chitin into chitosan. Interestingly, the chitosans obtained differ in their fine structure from all currently available chitosans which invariably are produced from chitin using chemical methods. Clearly, the chemical process yields “simple” chitosans which differ from the more complex and more varied chitosans found in nature. Ongoing work in the Nano3Bio project aims to test the material properties as well as the biological activities of these novel, “third generation” chitosans.
(Nano3Bio consortium partner in charge: University of Münster)
Learn more about this Nano3Bio achievement from project coordinator Bruno Moerschbacher in the short video below:
First detailed life cycle assessment of chitosan production
The Nano3bio project has carried out the first detailed life cycle assessment (LCA) of chitosan production from crustacean shells, using data from two manufacturers in India and Germany. LCA assess the overall environmental impacts caused by a system of production, use, and disposal processes necessary to provide a specific product. The LCA study within Nano3Bio includes the production and processing of all involved raw materials (crustacean shells as a by-product from fisheries), production of materials and energy carriers (chemicals, fuels, electricity) used in the manufacturing process, and the disposal of waste generated in the process (solid waste and wastewater). Knowledge gained from this LCA will be used by the manufacturers to define strategies to reduce their environmental impacts, both in their directly controlled activities as well as in their supply chain. The results from this study will be submitted to the European LCA database ELCD, where they will be publicly available. Implementing LCA during research activities is an important approach within the Nano3Bio project in order to contribute to an overall sustainable development regarding the usage of raw organic materials.
(Nano3Bio consortium partner in charge: 2.0 LCA Consultant APS)
- Article 'Life cycle assessment of chitosan production in India and Europe‘ in The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment (March 2017)
- Introduction on life cycle assessment within Nano3Bio, short video below:
Internalisation of chitosan nanocapsules into human cells
Drug administration to patients is frequently associated with adverse effects. This is especially relevant for therapies of cancer with chemotherapeutics leading to reduced life quality of the patient. Adverse effects are mostly related to the inefficient deliverance of drugs to the tumour and thus to systemic dissemination affecting the whole body. In the past, various strategies have been developed to improve tumour targeting and thus to minimize adverse effect. One of the most promising approaches is the encapsulation of therapeutics into particularly small sized carriers. The development of such carriers has been intensively followed in the last decades. Today, novel chitosan-based nanocapsules represent an achievement of the Nano3Bio consortium. The chitosan applied in this context is a fully degradable biopolymer preventing the accumulation of the capsules in the human body. The efficient uptake of the chitosan-nanocapsules into certain cells due to their unique physicochemical properties envisions an improved targeting of tumours and thus a reduction of adverse effects during cancer therapies. The University of Heidelberg (Germany) mainly carried out the research and development activities related to chitosan nanocapsules.
(Nano3Bio consortium partner in charge: University of Heidelberg)
Learn more about this promising Nano3Bio achievement from the following short video:
First microalgal chitosan isolated and identified
The research and development team of Greenaltech, a Nano3Bio partner company from Spain, has recently discovered the presence of natural chitosans in certain green microalgae species. With the help of other Nano3Bio consortium partners, Greenaltech is currently working on their characterization. The microalgal chitosans are completely natural sub-stances that do not suffer from any chemical modifications. Moreover, they are of non-animal origin, an important advantage in some industries from a regulatory and marketing perspective. Furthermore, the microalgal chitosan production process is fully controllable as it is performed in closed reactors from the inoculation of the culture media with microalgae to the last chitosan purification step. These advantages, together with the physico-chemical and bioactive properties that are still being elucidated within the Nano3Bio consortium, will be taken into account to select the niche markets in which the microalgal chitosans may have a higher potential of success.
(Nano3Bio consortium partner in charge: Greenaltech)
Get a brief introduction about this process from the following short video:
Nano3Bio on the NRW Nano Conference
Nano3Bio experienced fruitful and intensive discussions on the NRW Nano Conference in December 2016. Experts from the EU funded project presented the Nano3Bio approach and its hitherto achievements by the aid of a booth, a video presentation and printed information. In addition no fewer than 9 posters related to Nano3Bio were selected for the conference’s poster session. The Nano3Bio related poster authors were Christoph Engwer, Stefan Hoffmann, Hans Kleine-Brüggeney, Tamara Mengoni, Thahn Hao Nguyen, Eric Omwenga, Beatriz Santos, Sruthi Sreekumar and Celina Vila. Learn more about the Nano Conference ...
Chitosan-based hand cream formulation developed
For the cosmetic sector, chitosans are especially interesting due to their antimicrobial and thickening properties. Besides other functions, they can be used as a multifunctional raw material covering the two requirements of microbial stability and viscosity control with just one ingredient. These two functions are determined by variable chitosan characteristics like the molecular size and the side chain distribution. To determine the ideal characteristics necessary for personal care products, the Nano3Bio partner company Cosphatec is testing different chitosan types provided by other consortium partners. By combining different chitosan types, Cosphatec is able to produce a cream formulation in which no other thickener is needed. At the same time, the antimicrobial stability is kept while reducing preservation significantly to a minimum of the usual concentration. Within upcoming research activities of Nano3Bio, it is even aimed to further optimise these results. So far, the heterogeneity of currently available chitosan was one of the main hurdles for establishing frequent usage of this raw material. A benefit of the ability to produce chitosan biotechnologically will be the possible control of the process achievable only through exact knowledge of the underlying biological mechanisms. In this way, Nano3Bio aims to manufacture mass tailored chitosan with properties fine tuned to the desired applications in order to satisfy the corresponding market demand with a reliable and reproducible quality.
(Nano3Bio consortium partner in charge: Cosphatec)
Learn more about Cosphatec's achievement within Nano3Bio from the short video below:
Low-cost protein engineering technology developed
Synthetic biology researchers from academia and industry alike now have access to low-cost genetic material to help identify protein variants. Developed in part through research funding from the European Union’s Nano3Bio project, the GeneArt Strings DNA Libraries tool makes protein engineering, normally an expensive endeavor, attainable to cost-sensitive customers.
The new GeneArt Strings DNA Libraries is complementary to Thermo Fisher’s existing technology currently used for protein engineering by a process known as directed evolution. This method is designed to identify protein variants with improved properties such as enhanced function, better stability or properties that demonstrate novel enzymatic activity. Proteins engineered with enhanced enzymatic activity have many applications in daily life. As an example, enzymes found in many laundry detergents must be engineered to remain stable and active in hot, detergent-rich water, which are very different conditions compared to their natural environment.
The process of screening and engineering proteins is cost- and labor-intensive. The starting point is a DNA library – a collection of variants of the original DNA sequence encoding the protein of interest. These libraries contain thousands to billions of variants and serve to produce the protein variants that enter the screening procedure.
The expensive screening technology used to identify improved protein variants is compounded by the high cost associated with the meticulous process required to produce high-quality DNA libraries. However, research funded through the Nano3Bio project has enabled implementation of novel technologies and a production workflow to lower the cost of library production. Some of the first researchers to receive these new libraries are Nano3Bio consortium members from IQS in Barcelona, who are using them to develop enzyme variants that can produce novel chitosan oligomer types. The Nano3Bio project is funded by the European Union.
Find corresponding information on the GeneArt™ Strings™ DNA Fragments and Libraries website here ...
Caption (as to the below figure): Steps to improve proteins using directed evolution technology. Research by the EU funded project Nano3Bio makes this process, launched by Thermo Fisher Scientific, more accessible.
Protocol for production of chitosans with defined structures
In order to be able to explore the benefits of chitosans in depth, there is the need of obtaining it with a defined structure. In order to do so, one of Nano3Bio’s strategies is to combine enzymatic processes with chemical transformations. For this purpose, the project has dealt with the chemical activation of compounds for the in vitro preparation of controlled chitooligo-saccharide polymers (organic compounds formed by the repetitive linkage of small molecules called monomers) by certain (enzyme-catalyzed) reactions. Materials readily available from natural resources are transformed through chemical reactions into monomers designed to self-condense in a well-defined manner when reacting in the presence of an engineered enzyme. In order to obtain the desired monomers, specifically developed conditions are applied onto the starting materials followed by a treatment that allows the isolation of the product. Thus, other minor impurities that could be detrimental for the quality of the polymer or could even prevent the polymerization reaction are removed from the monomers. These reaction conditions developed during the project do not only allow the preparation of simple molecules, but also of structurally more complex compounds that may confer special properties to the polymers prepared from them. Enantia, a Nano3Bio partner company seated in Barcelona, mainly executed these activities.
(Nano3Bio consortium partner in charge: Enantia)
Learn more about this Nano3Bio achievement in the following short film:
Nano3Bio explains research potentials via web based short films (part 2/2)
The international research project Nano3Bio, funded by the European Union, gathered scientists and industrial partners to bring the potential of the biocompound Chitosan into marketable products. Nano3Bio is the highlight of a sequence of projects which helped to build knowledge on Chitosans for more than 15 years. The consortium now released the second part of two short video clips on the internet explaining its approach. The films also contain interviews of involved scientists. They are available on the Nano3Bio website www.nano3bio.eu as well as on the Nano3Bio channels on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
With 22 collaborators from all over Europe and India, Nano3Bio is one of the biggest projects in this field of research. Universities from Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, Denmark and India, with different expertises contribute their scientific knowledge. Jointly this strong consortium aims to achieve a breakthrough from basic research to the biotechnological production of chitosan based applications. One of the many good qualities of chitosans lies in the fact that they are well tolerated by the human body and easily biodegradable in the environment. The consortium aims to realise the production of highest quality chitosans. This is a basic requirement from many application areas like medicine and food products. Hence accordant biotechnological processes are carried out under very strict regulations.
Watch the video (part 2 of 2) here:
Biotech project Nano3Bio shows its colours on international conferences
The EU funded biotech project Nano3Bio recently used the international conferences ICCC/EUCHIS 2015 in Münster (Germany) to present itself to a broad community from science and industry. During the conferences Nano3Bio run a stand to get in touch with interested stakeholders. As many as 22 contributions during the conference like lectures and posters were related to Nano3Bio. Not least the project provided a specific smartphone application for conference participants, which could be used for immediate access to latest news about all sessions as well as for background information about Nano3Bio.
All about the chitin/chitosans project on the internet: www.nano3bio.eu
Caption (as to the below picture):
The Nano3Bio stand on the ICCC/EUCHIS 2015 conferences was a good platform for networking amongst experts from science and industry.
Research on chitin and chitosans: Nano3Bio explains its approach via video clip (part 1/2)
Technology dependent industries like medicine, agriculture and cosmetics are continuously driving innovation for new materials and substances forward. Because of its unique properties, chitosans have become a promising candidate for research in these fields. Chitosans are abundant in nature but not yet marketable for high standard applications. In the Nano3Bio project, scientists and industry are collaborating to produce Chitosans with biotechnology. They aim to generate environmentally friendly, reliable and safe products for health care, food industry and cosmetic applications. The Nano3Bio consortium now released a video clip on the internet explaining its approach in just about five minutes. The film also contains some interviews of involved scientists.
The Nano3Bio researchers assume that many different fields of application will be found in which a specific chitosan can replace or support other substances. „Let us assume the Nano3Bio project will bring out tangible research and development results: In the foreseeable future chitosans will be much more common and improve existing technologies and possibly initiate new ones“, says the narrator in the Nano3Bio video clip. Chitosans are natural sugar compounds and closely related to Chitin, which is well known as the major component of insect and shellfish exoskeletons. And moreover it is found in the cell walls of all kinds of fungi. There is not only one Chitosan - there are many Chitosans. The consortium believes that this diversity in structures is also the reason for the diversity in biological activities. Chitosan is classified as bioactive, which means that living organism show all kinds of reactions in the presence of Chitosan. When biologists started exploring the bioactivity of Chitosans they revealed a variety of beneficial effects on plants and animals.
The film is available on the Nano3Bio website www.nano3bio.eu as well as on the project's channels on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. A second video clip is going to follow soon.
Watch the video (part 1 of 2) here:
Nano3Bio factsheet: The Nano3Bio approach and application fields for third generation chitosans
Nano3Bio, the European funded project on novel chitin and chitosans just released a comprehensible factsheet. The document has a scale of two pages only and provides an overview on the multiple potentials of so-called third generation chitosans. These substances will have clearly defined biological activities, and known cellular modes of action. "Third generation chitosans will create new market opportunities in the future", the consortium states in the document. Furthermore the factsheet describes the novel approaches of Nano3Bio and names application fields for the new chitosans. It is downloadable for free from the Nano3Bio website www.nano3bio.eu.
Get the new up-to-date factsheet "Nano3Bio: Tapping the potential of chitosans" to learn the basics about the Nano3Bio approach. Download now ...
Short video trailer introducing work of high potential chitosan project
Four years, leading chitin and chitosan experts from 22 universities, research institutes, and companies from all over Europe and India as well as new scientific approaches and a whole lot of experience – these are the promising ingredients of the EU funded project Nano3Bio. Within this project the consortium aims to generate so-called third generation chitosans for many different fields of application. For example specific chitosans will be effective for plant protection, others could unfold new opportunities in medical application areas, and yet others will be beneficial for paper industry. The Nano3Bio consortium now released a short video clip that briefly introduces the approach and the potentials of this project. The video clip is available on the project's website www.nano3bio.eu, furthermore the consortium announced to provide two more detailed video clips in the near future.
This is the current short video clip mentioned above:
Biotech research project Nano3Bio is running
'Huge Potential' through Biotechnology
While the oil is slowly but surely running out, renewable resources are becoming increasingly important. In future, the biological production of raw materials has to play an even greater role to meet the needs in an environmentally friendly manner. An international consortium of researchers and companies now rises to this challenge. Its goal is the biotechnological production of so-called chitosans, which are used as raw materials for medicine, agriculture, water treatment, cosmetics, paper and textile industries as well as many other fields of application.
To tap this potential, the European Commission supports the research project "Nano3Bio" with a total of almost 9 million Euros up to 2017. In addition to the experts from your organisation, universities and research institutes as well as companies from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, India, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden are involved. They recently met to kick off the project in Münster, Germany.
"The Nano3Bio project is making a scientific dream come true, because this strong consortium will be able to achieve a breakthrough from basic research to the biotechnological production of chitosans", says Professor Dr. Bruno Moerschbacher, biologist at the University of Münster and coordinator of the project. So far, chitosans are typically obtained by chemical means from limited resources such as the shells of crabs and shrimps, or, rarely, from fungi or squid pens. Within the biotechnological process, specially prepared fungi, bacteria or algae are to take over the production of chitosans. One hope of the researchers is that this will be energy-saving, more environmentally friendly and less expensive than using current methods. But equally important is the replacement of chemical methods by biological ones which will lead to more natural and better defined chitosans than available today. Moerschbacher: "Succeeding would be a great achievement, including huge economic potential." But the road is challenging: For example, it is important to determine which biological organisms are able to produce exactly that quality of chitosan, which is required for a specific application.
The biochemical quality of chitosans is at least as diverse as their applications. For example, one specific chitosan is suitable for finishing seeds to protect them from pests and diseases, and to yield richer harvests. Another one is acting as anti-bacterial, film-forming agent in spray plaster accelerating scar-free wound healing. In medical applications, specific chitosans can ensure the transport of drugs to their target sites, e.g. in the brain or in cancer cells. Furthermore, the researchers assume that many other fields of application will be found in which a specific chitosan can replace or support other substances. For many applications, this is a highly promising prospect since one of the good qualities of chitosans lies in the fact that they are well tolerated by the human body and easily biodegradable in the environment.
If you want to learn more about the Nano3Bio project you can check the respective project website: www.nano3bio.org
Caption (as to the below picture):
International competence in biotechnology: The consortium during its kick-off meeting of "Nano3Bio" expects significant progress through the project.