Researchers at the French Institute of the Sea are interested in the beneficial properties of certain bacteria on the seabed.
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The ocean contains more than a million known species and many unknowns. For Ifremer (French Institute of the Sea), thanks to this research, the medicine of tomorrow will be blue. Many of their researchers are working on the properties of certain molluscs and bacteria found in the seabed.
Still, we must be able to reach them. "If you want to access the deep ocean, you need gear, it can be an inhabited submarine or robots teleoperated from the surface"explains François Houiller, the president of Ifremer. "These machines make it possible, with the instruments we have at Ifremer and in France, to take samples up to 6,000 meters deep."
It is by going as close to the hydrothermal vents of the Pacific that Ifremer has looked at an incredible bacterium capable of withstanding very different temperature and acidity of the water. "For example, we have a deep-sea bacterium in which we can extract a polysaccharide, adds François Houiller, that is to say a complex sugar which has interesting properties especially for the regeneration of cartilage. A bacterium that could repair tissue and fight against metastases.
Charlotte Corporeau, a researcher at Ifremer in Brest, is more interested in how oysters work to combat the development of cancer cells. "What we are looking for in this protocol and this project is where and when the oyster manages to activate or deactivate this mechanism that is recognized in cancer cells"the researcher analyzes.
Our marine system is made of such a microbiota that today, by using the good bacteria, we could also get rid of the bad ones like listeria which, by contaminating our food, affects nearly 300 people a year in France. "It has been realized that spraying bacteria that are not pathogenic on food, for example marine food, explains François Houiller, we were able to modify the microbial procession and prevent this pathogenic bacteria from settling. "
The potential for research to improve our health is not lacking in the ocean. Today, out of the 180,000 well-listed marine species, only 5% of them are studied for medicine.