KOCHI: At a time when the healthcare industry is increasingly becoming dependent on marine-derived bio-active compounds for various diseases, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) will soon launch a natural product obtained from the sea to treat thyroid disorder. CMFRI has already developed nutraceutical products for diabetes, arthritis and cholesterol from marine organisms such as seaweeds and green mussel.
At the valedictory function of the three-week long Winter School organised by CMFRI to train young researchers in extracting medicines from marine organisms, Dr A Gopalakrishnan, director, CMFRI said the marine nutraceutical product being developed by the institute for thyroid dysfunction is in the final stage of clinical trial. “The product will be commercialised after the successful completion of the clinical experiment”, he said.In addition, CMFRI will develop more such natural products including cosmeceuticals from the marine organisms, Dr Gopalakrishnan added. “CMFRI will seek the possibilities of interaction with the industry to commercialise the natural marine products developed in the laboratories of the Institute,” he said.
“High-value bioactive metabolites from the marine organisms are attracting attention because of the growing demand for new compounds of ‘marine natural’ origin, having potential applications in pharmaceutical fields. The functional foods, enriched with natural ingredients have been proved to be beneficial for human health”, he said. “CMFRI is the pioneering marine research institute in India to work in the frontier area of bioactive molecule discovery from marine organisms as promising therapeutic agents against various diseases. The four nutraceutical products developed by CMFRI in the past garnered a huge demand in the healthcare market,” Dr Gopalakrishnan said.
The 21-day long Winter School was conducted by the Marine Biotechnology Division of the CMFRI to train 23 scientists and teachers on recent advances in bioactive compounds from marine organisms and developing high-value products for better health management.Eminent scientists and experts from different corners of the world who have expertise in the field of marine natural product chemistry delivered lectures in the area of marine bioactive compounds and conducted practical classes.
Dr T K Srinivasa Gopal, former director of the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) was the chief guest at the valedictory function of the Winter School. The rich diversity of flora and fauna in the marine and coastal habitats of the Indian subcontinent is still an untapped reservoir of bioactive compounds with valuable pharmaceutical and biomedical use, he said.
“Even as these groups of marine organism are underutilised, the average proportion of bioactive compounds among the new compounds is declining during the last decade. Various medicinal and biomedical products from marine organisms have myriad benefits for human health. Hence, they form attractive options for the food and pharmaceutical industry,” he said.Dr P Vijayagopal, head of the Marine Biotechnology Division and Dr Kajal Chakraborty, course director of the Winter School spoke on the occasion.