National facility for Marine Bioprocessing

Norway’s new National Facility for Marine Bioprocessing (NAMAB) in Kaldfjord near Tromsø will be officially opened on August 27.

What is marine bioprocessing?

  • Bioprocessing is the use of biological components (living cells, such as yeast, enzymes etc.) in the treatment of various raw materials to other products, such as proteins and oils.
  • Marine bioprocessing is based on raw materials from the sea, such as fish, sea urchins or kelp.

In practice the facility will be a mini factory where high technology companies may receive help to transfer good research results from the laboratories and produce advanced products on an even larger scale.

This will lower the threshold for the establishment of new companies and enable the companies to get their products out to a larger market.

The facility covers an area of more than 1000 m² and will house a complete processing line suitable for producing a range of different products from marine raw materials.

“The users of the facility will primarily be newly established companies in the biotechnology industry. This is a young industry that is still undeveloped. We hope we can play a part in creating more new companies and jobs in the biotechnology industry,” says Rasmus Karstad, who has been appointed Manager of the new facility.

The mini factory will be established and operated by the food research institute Nofima.

The investment in equipment totals NOK 30 million. The construction of the facility and the equipment is financed by the Troms Country Council and the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs. The new facility will have two full-time employees.

Priority area

For many years marine biotechnology has been an area of priority among academic institutions and companies in the Tromsø region. There has also been an increasingly broader national commitment, which has led to the development of national strategies for new and sustainable value creation.

Marine bioprospecting, part of the marine biotechnology, is included in the Government’s High North Strategy. It is an area of research with major potential for commercialisation based on marine raw materials and gene resources.

Several knowledge-based companies originating from academia have been established as a result of this.

However, the efforts in marine bioprospecting cannot be fully realized without the bioactive compounds being purified to the approved quality or that it may be produced in such amounts that it is commercially viable.

Further development

The food research institute Nofima has worked on marine bioprospecting and bioprocessing of marine raw materials since the 1980s. For several years the processing pilot plant in Breivika in Tromsø has functioned as a development offer to companies. This pilot plant has given the raw material-based industry an opportunity to advance projects from the laboratory bench to a larger scale.

The establishment of the new National Facility for Marine Bioprocessing is a further development of this pilot plant and will enable companies to produce products on an even larger scale.

A steadily larger processing industry also places demands on competence development and the education of candidates in marine bioprocessing. Collaboration between education institutions will contribute to educating candidates suited to a knowledge-based industrial development within the field of marine biotechnology.

The facility will be ready for clients from autumn 2013. Prior to the official opening on August 27, we will present the progress of the construction through photos and regular newsletters.

Marine biotechnology  

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