What if the sea urchins become the “Portuguese caviar”?

The potential of the sea urchin gonads as a gourmet product, its economic importance and possible production in captivity are some of the hot topics investigated under the INSEAFOOD project. Part of the achieved outcomes with the sea urchins were disseminated in an extensive article published in the daily newspaper PÚBLICO, which counted with the participation of the coordinator of the INSEAFOOD project, Professor Luísa Valente. This research work was also featured in the Porto University news site. Both news articles are available in:





12 month INSEAFOOD project newsletter

Welcome to the first INSEAFOOD project e-Newsletter, which summarizes part of the research work developed in the first 12 month of project (01/Jan/2016 to 31/Dec/2016). The INSEAFOOD e-Newsletter will be published at months 18, 24 and 32 and will provide information on project progress, scientific publications, participation on events, project meetings and organized events and news dissemination.

We hope you enjoy reading it and please do not hesitate to contact the Project coordinator Luísa Valente for any queries or comments related to the INSEAFOOD project.


INSEAFOOD – Innovation and valorization of seafood products: meeting local challenges and opportunities – aims to enhance CIIMAR scientific competences in the area of Aquaculture and Seafood Quality, that are relevant for the implementation of the North Portugal Smart Specialization Strategy.Research effort will be focused on economically important and well established shellfish (Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas) and finfish species (European seabass, Dicentrarchus labrax) that play a major role in the Portuguese aquaculture sector. The project will also monitor marine algae and natural populations of sea urchin (Paracentrotus lividus). The production and promotion of innovative seafood products of high value is expected, such as high quality sea urchin gonads or added nutritional value fish, in order to better exploit Portuguese marine resources and boost the economic and social sectors. INSEAFOOD involves an exceptional team of CIIMAR researchers complemented with the inclusion of new scientific posts, young researchers and doctoral students that will reinforce the capacity to compete in the aquaculture and seafood quality research areas.

INNOVMAR was present at the Oceans Business Week

The CIIMAR and INNOVMAR project were present at the Oceans Business Week (OBW) organized by the AIP Foundation and the Portuguese Ministry of the Sea, between 2 – 4 of June 2016 at Lisbon Congress Centre. The OBW is a technological and scientific show with a strong component of innovation, universities, technology centers, incubators and accelerators centers of companies, startups, public administration structures. The CIIMAR exhibited examples of its own research in areas such as Marine Biotechnology, Aquaculture, and Ecosystems Services with: a “Biotech Pipeline”, an acrylic structure that illustrates the researcher work since collecting an organism until obtain a bioactive compound; an “Integrated Multi Trophic Aquaculture”, a system that allows increasing aquaculture production in a sustainable manner; and a “Hyperbaric Chamber” allowing to recreate aquatic environments with very high pressures.


NOVELMAR – Novel marine products with biotechnological applications – aims to strengthen and consolidate CIIMAR know-how and competence in the area of marine biotechnology in special on the use of marine organisms (e.g cyanobacteria, bacteria, fungi and other organisms) bioactive products that may have pharmacological, nutraceutical, cosmeceutical, antifouling and other industrial applications. The main innovation this research line will be the use of a double approach – a genomic and a bioassay-guided approach, to study a diversity of industrial applications using a biorefinery pipeline concept, aiming to produce zero residues. We will apply a methodology that will involve several levels of biological organization from the DNA (sequencing and survey of gene clusters that produce some of the compounds and further heterologous expression) to the organisms. Due to the previous successful experience of the MARBIOTECH project (ON2) we will have available at the beginning of the proposed project pure elucidated compounds, organisms biomass, isolated organisms, and will continue the collection and isolation of new organisms, in special extremofiles that may have innovative products, including enzymes, with novel properties to be used in industrial processes. The knowledge gathered during this multidisciplinary project that will involve geneticists, biologists, microbiologists, chemists, biochemists, and pharmaceutics, among other will be essential to increase CIIMAR competitiveness in the marine biotechnology area.