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Biomolecular Engineering 20 (2003) ix /x www.elsevier.

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Editorial

Marine biotechnology: basics and applications


This special issue contains full papers of both oral and poster presentations of the international symposium Marine Biotechnology: Basics and Applications that was held in Matalascan as, Spain, 25 February /1 March 2003. Marine biotechnology is an exciting new area of biotechnology. Due to the diversity in ocean life many potentially interesting compounds are discovered (Fig. 1). In 1998 we organized the conference Marine Bioprocess Engineering [1] in the Netherlands because we felt that bioprocess engineering aspects did not receive sufficient attention in the marine field. At that symposium we wanted to start to bridge the gap between the isolation of products from marine organisms in the laboratory and industrial applications. Bridging that gap is still our drive. At the conference Marine Biotechnology: Basics and Applications [2] we wanted to do that by bringing together research and commercial realization. The development of a marine biotechnological product usually involves a chain of steps, starting from the discovery of an interesting compound to the marketing of the ultimate product developed from this compound. The symposium focused on the relation between applications of marine biotechnology and the basic disciplines, i.e. screening, chemistry, genomics, biology, process engineering, and product marketing. We tried to compose a program in which both basics and applications were covered and we aimed to have a platform during the conference for good discussions between industry and academia. The conference was set up around three sessions covering different marine organisms of interest: invertebrates and phototrophic and heterotrophic organisms. In total 34 oral presentations were given in these sessions. In addition a poster session was organized with in total 80 presentations. A few weeks before the conference eight posters were selected from the poster abstracts and the authors were asked to give a short oral presentation about their work. The result of that was that in the short presentations only the research goals and conclusions could be given. The information given was sufficient to provoke lively discussions afterwards. We intended to give extra attention to industrial developments that are already commercially realized.
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For that reason an industrial session was organized. We asked five companies to present their business and especially to focus on the research needs that are essential for commercialization of marine products. On the third day of the symposium we left the conference location for a lunch in the beautiful village El Rocio followed by an excursion to the natural resort Parque Donan a. This break out preceded a brainstorm session in the evening. In this brainstorm session participants were divided in 12 groups and were asked to dream of future research needs in marine biotechnology. Very interesting discussions arose and some wild dreams were developed, but mostly valuable research ideas, were shared during that session. Results were brought together and presented at the end of the conference and a report of that is given in this special issue. Our main purpose was to have a scientific conference program of high quality in addition to intensive discussions in which all delegates participated. We aimed to have sufficient critical mass present. For that reason we did select the conference location in Matalascan as, where we were able to organize a conference with a high quality /price ratio; in our opinion a prerequisite to attract many participants. We hosted 160 participants. The manuscripts presented in this special issue give an extensive overview of current research and applications in marine biotechnology. We hope many new applications will follow in the future. We hope that all this will stimulate the exploration of new bioproducts from the ocean, but only in a sustainable way of exploitation of these valuable resources. The organizing committee of the international symposium Marine Biotechnology: Basics and Applications acknowledges with gratitude the following organizations for financial support of this event: Andaluc a Turismo, ASL-IBERCEX, Ayuntamiento de Almonte, Centro Internacional de Estudios Convenciones Ecolo gicas y Medioambientales (Ciecema), Elsevier Science, Hucoa-Erlo ss, Instituto de Bioquimica Vegetal y Fotosintesis of CSIC-University of Sevilla, INTA (Centro de Experimentacio n El Arenosillo), Ministerio de Sciencia y Tecnologia of Spain, PharmaMar, Plan a, Raigal, Andaluz de Investigacio n */Junta de Andaluc The New Delta, Trends in Biotechnology, University of

Editorial

dola, Emilio Molina Grima, Rosa Le on, Douglas McKenzie,Werner Mu ller, Murray Munro, Peter Nichols, Jan Olafsen, Miguel Olaizola, Ronald Osinga, Shirley Pomponi, Clemens Posten, Joe l Querellou, Hans Reith, Amos Richmond, Jorge Rocha, Gregory Rorrer, Thomas Schweder, Detmer Sipkema, Lolke Sijtsma, Hans Tramper, Mario Tredici, Iosune Uriz, Jose-Maria Vega, Carlos V lchez, Philip Wright and Rene Wijffels. With the help of so many, we have been able to organize the event. We were very happy that the participants turned the international symposium Marine Biotechnology: Basics and Applications into a highquality event, ultimately resulting in this special issue of Biomolecular Engineering.

References
[1] Osinga R, Tramper J, Burgess JG, Wijffels RH. Marine Bioprocess Engineering Journal of Biotechnology 1999;70:1 /414. [2] Marine Biotechnology: Basics and Applications. Abstract issue Biomolecular Engineering 2003;20(2):37 /82.

Fig. 1. Marine biodiversity will result in promising new applications. At the conference Marine Biotechnology: Basics and Applications a bridge is made between basic research and new applications. Drawing: Guido Wijffels (2002).

Huelva */Vicerrectorado de Estudiantes y Relaciones Institucionales, Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia */Centro Asociado de Huelva and Wageningen University-Agrotechnology and Food Sciences. In addition we would like to thank the following people who served as the editorial board for the special issue by reviewing the submitted manuscripts: Maria Barbosa, Chris Battershill, Willem Brandenburg, Graham Bremer, Grant Burgess, Ricardo Guerrero, Russell Hill, Marcel Janssen, Carlos J menez, Dominick Men-

Rene H. Wijffels, Maria Barbosa, Marcel Janssen, Hedy S. Wessels, Johannes Tramper Food and Bioprocess Engineering Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8129, 6700 EV Wageningen, Netherlands E-mail address: rene.wijffels@wur.nl Carlos V lchez, Rosa Leo n University of Huelva, Spain Ida Akkerman The New Delta, Netherlands