MaCuMBA at a glance


Title: MaCuMBA -Marine Microorganisms: Cultivation Methods for Improving their Biotechnological Applications
Programme: FP7 Cooperation, KBBE
Instrument: Collaborative project
Total budget: €12,015,209.80
EC Contribution: €8,999,948.00
Duration: August 2012 – July 2016 (48 months)
Consortium: 22 partners from 11 countries
Coordinator: Stichting Koninklijk Netherlands Instituut voor Zeeonderzoek (NIOZ), The Netherlands

The Challenge

Marine microorganisms form an almost untapped resource of biotechnological potential. They could potentially provide clues that will help mitigate climate change, control disease and generate alternative energy sources. However, their use is hindered by the low success rate for isolating novel microorganisms and by poor growth efficiency. Consequently, the vast majority of marine microorganisms have not been cultivated and are often considered as ‘unculturable’. Today, one of the main challenges for microbiologists is to develop strategies to cultivate the uncultured majority of marine microorganisms.


Project Objectives

The objective of the MaCuMBA project is to uncover the untold diversity of marine microbes using cultivation-dependent strategies. Furthermore, MaCuMBA aims to improve the isolation rate and growth efficiency of marine microorganisms from conventional and extreme habitats by applying innovative methods and using automated high-throughput procedures.

Expected results and impact

  • Increased success rate of isolation of marine microbes.
  • Isolation of numerous novel marine Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya.
  • Improved cultivation efficiency of biotechnological relevant marine microorganisms.
  • Increased production rate of new biomolecules with high added value.
  • High-throughput culturing methods that mimic natural conditions.
  • Improved understanding on how cell-to-cell communication, chemical inducers, stress factors and other regulatory system alterations could affect the isolation and cultivation efficiency of marine microorganisms as well as the production of bioactive molecules from already cultured organisms.
  • Specific devices and robotics for high-throughput isolation and cultivation of marine microorganisms.
  • Cultivation and genetic strategies to enhance bio-prospecting (lab scale).
  • Integration of bio-prospecting strategies towards industrial applications (full scale).

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