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Marine microbiome : Genoscope contributes to the European project BlueRemediomics

Launched in December 2022, the European project BlueRemediomics aims to valorize currently unexploited marine microbial resources. The four-year project brings together an international consortium of experts, including the Genomics Metabolics mixed research unit (Genoscope/CEA-Jacob), and enables the development of novel tools and approaches to explore marine microbiome data.

Published on 17 February 2023

The marine microbiome comprises a wide variety of microorganisms (bacteria, phytoplankton, zooplankton, viruses, etc.) and plays a key role in oceanic function. The latest large-scale exploratory missions such as Tara Oceans have enabled major scientific advances, particularly as concerns the characterization of the taxonomic and functional diversity of the globe's marine microbiome. Resultantly, this latter has joined the blue bioeconomy and become one of its most rapidly growing aspects over the last few years. The study of the marine microbiome finds itself at the heart of the primordial societal, ecological and economic need to understand, protect and benefit from oceanic resources.

Therein lies the reason for which the EU's Horizon Europe funding program selected the project BlueRemediomics for €7.65 million in funding over four years plus an additional €1.54 million to finance the project's partners.

BlueRemediomics intends to catalog marine microbiome data with the goal of easing the development of industrial technologies aimed at reducing waste, developing the reuse of natural products and by-products, and improving aquaculture techniques. The program will also seek to guarantee equitable access to and the sharing of advantages gained from any resulting products (for example in healthcare) and enable the measurement of societal acceptability of biosourced solutions. The BlueRemediomics mission will be built primarily upon data generated by the Tara Oceans expeditions, in which Genoscope played an important role.

Coordinated by the CNRS and EMBL, The project counts 23 international partners including three laboratories  in Genoscope's Genomics Metabolics mixed research unit: LAGE, L2BMS and LABGeM).

The teams within those labs will combine their respective competencies to address such aspects of the project as:

  • (i) the improvement of eukaryote genome reconstruction processes based on metagenomics data; (ii) the development of pangenome representation graphics for the analysis of the genomic diversity of species; (iii) and the conception of a genomic context analysis method to capture the functional diversity of the enzyme families involved in various metabolic pathways.
  • the characterization of enzymes and degradation pathways of UV blockers used in sunscreens, some of which are considered to be organic pollutants. The results obtained will enable the evaluation of the biodegradability of these compounds by the marine microbiome.
  • the determination of biological markers, genomes or genes indicating anthropogenic marine ecosystem change (modifications caused or generated by human activity). Such markers may prove useful for international efforts to define and characterize an ocean health index.

Genoscope's sequencing and enzyme screening platforms will also be put to use for the BlueRemediomics program.

Contact UMR Génomique/Genoscope/CEA : Olivier Jaillon (LAGE), David Vallenet (LABGeM) & Anne Zaparucha (L2BMS)

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