Characterizing fucoidan-degrading enzymes from marine bacterium

Fucoidan is a polysaccharide found in brown algae (seaweed). ARC Medical Devices Inc. markets fucoidan purified from brown algae for post-surgical veterinary use to reduce interorgan adhesion development. This product works very effectively, prompting a desire to develop a similar product for use in humans. The challenge to this, however, is that fucoidan is an extremely large molecule of heterogeneous composition, making it difficult to meet the higher standards of purity and homogeneity required of medical materials for use in human subjects. Our proposed solution is to harness naturally occurring enzymes found in marine bacteria and use these bio-processing enzymes to tailor the structure and size of fucoidan, and/or synthesize fucoidan fragments, such that the material is of more defined size and composition and can ultimately be obtained in large quantities of high purity.

Orly Salama-Alber
Faculty Supervisor: 
Alisdair Boraston
Project Year: 
British Columbia