Introduction for press and media

EU Research Project Nano3Bio: Promising achievements in the field of bio-engineering and chitosans

In future, the biological production of raw materials has to play an even greater role to meet customer and industry needs in an environmentally friendly manner. Within Nano3Bio an international consortium of researchers and companies rises to this challenge. Its goal is the biotechnological production of 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. The European Commission supports Nano3Bio with a total of almost nine million Euros up to the end of 2017. Universities and research institutes as well as companies from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, India, The Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden are involved. 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. In the biotechnological processes targeted by Nano3Bio, specially optimized fungi, bacteria, and algae will take over the production of chitosans. These so-called third generation chitosans will have more defined or even novel structural characteristics, clearly defined biological activities, and known cellular modes of action. Therefore, they will not only create new market opportunities – another hope of the researchers is that this will be energy-saving, more environmentally friendly, and less expensive than using current methods.

Overview via two brief video clips

Watch the following short films to get a good overview about what Nano3Bio does:

Background information

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.

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