The ocean covers 71% of our planet and represents one of the largest habitats of microorganisms on Earth. Yet, the potential of marine microorganisms for biotechnological and biomedicinal applications has largely remained untapped since most types of microorganisms have escaped cultivation so far. At the same time, most microorganisms in natural marine samples are physiologically active, suggesting that present cultivation methods do not meet their growth requirements.
The collaborative project MaCuMBA (Marine microorganisms: Cultivation Methods for improving their Biotechnological Applications) is funded by the EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 /2012-2016) and involves 23 European partners. Major aims of MaCuMBA are to improve the cultivation and isolation techniques for previously uncultured types of marine microorganisms and to screen them for their biotechnological potential. Innovative and high-throughput approaches and methodologies are developed and employed to recover novel isolates from a wide variety of different marine environments.