Reducing the Sting of Jellyfish Costs | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 85 Issue 28 | p. 33 | Concentrates
Issue Date: July 9, 2007

Reducing the Sting of Jellyfish Costs

Department: Science & Technology

Jelly Jam
Small jellyfish clog power plant intakes, and large ones wreak havoc on fishing nets.
Credit: RIKEN

Thousands of jellyfish regularly clog water intakes at power plants around the world. With jellyfish populations flourishing, possibly the result of warmer waters and artificial reefs, researchers have been looking for a viable way to offset the cost of removing the overabundant creatures. Kiminori Ushida at the Japanese research institute RIKEN and colleagues may have the answer: They isolated a novel glycoprotein, a member of the mucin family, in high yield from five species of jellyfish (J. Nat. Prod., DOI: 10.1021/np060341b). Named qniumucin, the highly polymerized biomaterial contains repeating patterns of eight amino acids and is similar to human mucin. Qniumucin could be used as a starting material to make designer mucins or to substitute for mucins now obtained from pigs and cows. The compounds are used in drug delivery, antibiotic products, cosmetics, and food additives.

 
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