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Høst 2022

BIO-3612 Marine bioprospecting and bioactive compounds - 10 stp

The course is administrated by

Norges fiskerihøgskole

Type of course

For students taking the Marine Biotechnology - master program the course is mandatory. The course can be taken as a singular course.

Course overlap

BIO-2607 Marin bioprospecting 10 stp

Course contents

Students learn the processes and techniques used to detect and characterise bioactive compounds from marine organisms and their genes in early phases. Research in this field is essential to facilitate further development and document the concept of the bioactive compound(s) and also how to optimise them to make medicines or other commercial products.

It can take a long time to develop bioactive components. It is a complicated process from the actual proof of a find ("hit") and subsequent characterisation, until there is documented agreement about whether it is worth investing in further development all the way up to the creation of a commercial product.

The topics in the course range from identifying biological resources in the sea to applying various traditional and new biotechnological methods. The course examines the application/analysis of these resources and their genes, characteristics of bioactive components (and genes), their chemical structures, bioactivities and mechanisms of action.

The various methods used in bioprospecting are thoroughly reviewed and the opportunities and challenges they present are brought into focus. The bioassay-guided purification method is used during the two-week compulsory laboratory course. The laboratory exercise covers extraction, testing, separation/isolation and introductory characterisation of both bioactive compounds and their mechanisms of action, concentrating particularly on antibacterial activity. The lab course will take place in research laboratories associated with the Bioprospecting Research Group, both at the Department of Norwegian College of Fishery Science and on the screening platform Marbio.

Examples of development of natural marine products and their applications will be presented (anti-cancer, antimicrobial activity towards antibacterial resistant bacteria, immunomodulating agents, antioxidants, enzymes and enzyme-inhibiting activity).

Other topics, not mentioned above, will be covered in lectures. These are: Other methods in bioprospecting, structure biology with genomic/metagenomics, virtual screening and metabolomics; Natural products and case studies; Ethics, legislation and agreements related to bioprospecting and commercial potential; Different phases in drug discovery; Challenges and solutions of supply of more material; Applications and new trends.

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester.Exchange students and Fulbright students: 15 April for the autumn semester.

Admission requirements

A bachelor's degree in biotechnology, marine biotechnology or equivalent education. Required background in biotechnology: Basic biology, chemistry, cell and molecular biology and organic chemistry (1000 level, 1st-2nd year). In-depth specialisation must also have been undertaken at the 2000 level (2nd-3rd year), as a minimum, in chemistry/biochemistry (min. 10 credits), microbiology (min. 10 credits) and molecular biology/methods in molecular biology (min. 10 credits).

Application code 9371.

Obligatory prerequisites

BIO-2513 Marine Biodiversity, BIO-2606 General and marine biotechnology

Objective of the course

On successful completion of the course students will have achieved the following learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding. The candidate

Skills. The candidate

Expertise. The candidate

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Lectures and seminars, compulsory laboratory course, one-day fieldwork trip to demonstrate how to gather marine material. Submission of report and oral presentation of the results. There will be guest lectures.

Date for examination

School exam 08.12.2022

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced at your faculty early in May and early in November.