Omani student-led research group seeks to extract antibiotics from seaweed

[Oman] A student-led research hopes to extract antibiotics from seaweed in order to cure marine life diseases.

A research project, which was awarded a student research grant in December of 2016 by The Research Council (TRC), hopes to find a cure for marine life diseases through antibiotics from seaweed.

The grant was awarded to the College of Applied Sciences in Sur, and to the Department of Applied Biological Sciences.

Head Researcher and student, Nasia Rashid Al Daghari, spoke about the stages of the research and benefits it could bring to Oman’s marine life and the Sultanate’s economy.

“There have been many discoveries of diseases, which affect marine life in the waters of the Sultanate, which makes this project incredibly important in supporting marine life. We have been researching means to extract antibiotics from seaweed bacteria, in order to combat fish diseases,” she explained.

The research team started by collecting seaweed from the beaches of Sur.

“After collecting the seaweed, we would isolate the bacteria from seaweed, and then extract the bacteria from the seaweed and the DNA associated with it. Following this, we attempted to grow the bacteria in the labs, and then study the microbial activity of the bacteria,” Al Daghari explained.

The microbial activity was tested as an antibiotic for different fish diseases, such as bacterial and fungal diseases, in order to determine effectiveness.

“We researched with many samples of different seaweed in order to extract the bacteria that would give the antibiotic we require. Through studying the microbial activity, we identified which bacteria would provide the antibiotic that may eliminate marine bacterial diseases.”

“The antibiotics from bacteria are used much in the same way they work with all living organisms—they destroy harmful microbial activity in such a way that eliminates the possibility for illness.”

The research will continue until the end of the year, and the research team hopes to produce an effective antibiotic that is able to eliminate marine life diseases.

“We hope that this develops into the mass production of the antibiotic, in order to increase revenue for the Sultanate. Marine life and fisheries have a great effect on the country’s growth, and marine diseases can be a huge detriment to one of Oman’s sources of income,” Al Daghari said.

 

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