Seaweed has potential in a wide range of applications

waterfall bayMarinova Pty Ltd is a leading Australian biotechnology company that develops and manufactures innovative extracts from marine plants for use in pharmaceutical, nutritional and cosmetic applications.

Seaweed has been prized by traditional cultures for centuries, due to its superior nutritional and medicinal properties. It is only in recent decades with the advent of advanced analytical and extraction capabilities that the true nutritional and biomedical properties of seaweed has emerged. Marinova, based at Cambridge in southern Tasmania, focusses on the extraction of bioactive fucoidan compounds from brown seaweeds, particularly from the Undaria pinnatifida and Fucus vesiculosus species.

A purpose built extraction plant with state-of-the-art laboratories was opened by Marinova in 2006; the first of its kind to exist in the world. This facility, along with the proprietary Maritech® extraction process developed by Marinova, has enabled the company to lead the world in the development and production of certified organic fucoidan compounds for a variety of health applications.

What are fucoidans?

Fucoidans are a class of naturally-occurring fucose-rich polymers found in brown macroalgae. They are all subtly different in structure according to the species of seaweed they originate from and the extraction method used to isolate them. Fucoidans exhibit varying degrees of acetylation and sulfation and different combinations of the main sugar constituents, which also allows fucoidan molecules to show variations in bioactivities. In nature, fucoidans act to protect seaweed plants from external damage (such as UV radiation, marine-borne pathogens and toxins). Research on fucoidan has shown it to exhibit similar protective benefits once extracted.

How are fucoidans extracted?

Brown seaweeds, such as wakame and bladderwrack, are used to extract fucoidan. Common extraction methods involve the use of high temperatures and harsh chemical solvents, often resulting in a fractionated fucoidan molecule with reduced bioactivity.

Marinova has developed the proprietary, aqueous-based Maritech® extraction process; a solvent-free method that creates the only certified organic fucoidan extracts in the world. All extracts produced by Marinova are sourced from wild, hand harvested seaweed that grow in the cleanest ocean waters, including Tasmania, Nova Scotia and Patagonia. The superior Maritech® extraction process allows these fucoidan molecules to remain nature-identical and unadulterated in chemical structure, making them unparalleled within the marketplace.

What applications can the fucoidan extracts be used in?

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Fucoidan has potential in a wide range of applications, including those that target inflammatory disorders, immune system stimulation, stem cell modulation, cardiovascular health, tumour modulation, anti-viral and antibiotic activity and gastro-intestinal health. Key industries who utilise fucoidan extracts include:

Nutraceutical: Fucoidan extracts have proved to be beneficial in a wide range of nutritional applications. Marinova is the leading manufacturer and supplier of premium extracts to this sector across the globe. The Maritech® extraction process allows the specific molecular profile of each product to be selected, resulting in significantly enhanced efficacy and bioactivity at considerably lower concentrations. All Maritech® products are easy to formulate with and are suitable for use in capsules, tablets, beverages and gels.

Skin Care: The Maritech® range of skin care extracts consists of highly purified and characterised fucoidan complexes designed specifically for cosmetic and dermatological applications. Maritech® Bright has been specifically developed for skin brightening, lightening and UV protective formulations, whilst Maritech® Reverse targets anti-aging, soothing and protective skin care formulas.

Pharmaceutical: Marinova’s expertise in the chemistry and functionality of fucoidans allows the company to collaborate with international biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and isolate discrete fucoidan compounds for specific biomedical applications.

Research Institutions: Marinova is the leading resource for highly characterised, specific fucoidan extracts for research purposes. The company is able to provide fucoidan fractions with defined physical and chemical profiles from an extensive range of seaweed species.

Functional food & beverage:  Fucorich® is a cost-effective, certified organic fucoidan ingredient that has been developed by Marinova specifically for nutritional food and beverage formulations. Marinova also supplies whole seaweed products to the food industry.

What current projects are Marinova involved in?

2015 was a record year of investment into research and development for Marinova. Currently engaged in a number of projects across the globe, the company’s key areas of fucoidan research are in cancer, anti-viral, immune modulation and gut health models. Initial results from Marinova’s integrative oncology research project has been received, with publication expected following project completion later this year.

Recent achievements?

Marinova was awarded Australian Nutraceutical Ingredients Company of the Year for 2015, in the prestigious Frost & Sullivan Best Practice Awards. These awards, now in their tenth consecutive year, acknowledge companies that demonstrate outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, innovation, customer service, and strategic product development.

Marinova achieves Zero-waste: Marinova has just completed installation of state-of-the-art evaporation technology, in order to harness the full benefits of brown seaweeds and achieve the company’s zero-waste goal. This technology will allow the company to capture and concentrate all liquid by-products of the Maritech® process, for use in agricultural and horticultural applications.

For further information, please visit www.marinova.com.auMaritech extracts, credit Tony Lomas