Researchers from Ghent University have discovered potential leads in human health by focusing on natural products in sea spray collected at the Belgian coast.
Sea spray originates from the sea by the breaking of waves which aerosolizes the molecules in the surface layer of the sea. The researchers found that natural products in sea spray aerosols positively affect molecular mechanisms in human lung cells in the lab. The researchers are now trying to find out which substances in the sea air cause these effects in order to understand what these substances do with other cells in our body.
Our oceans produce a wide range of natural products. Currently, there are roughly 18000 natural products derived from the marine environment. People often think this is limited to human health, such as new medicines extracted from marine sponges or jellyfish. But the applications of marine biotechnology are universal: from human health to aquaculture and even biofuel. Marine biotechnology research at Ostend Science Park aims to discover potential new natural products from the Belgian part of the North Sea that can be applied by the wide and diverse sector of Flemish blue growth companies to benefit society.