New Business in the CT&F Sector: Sustainable Bioprospecting and Biotechnology
Considering the global context of environmental, economic, and social imbalance, it is coherent for leaders to evaluate, rethink, and adjust their ways of managing and doing business with sustainable and innovative practices that are also more conscious, ethical, and include shared values.
The survey Best for Brazil 2022, by Humanizadas®, reveals that “a New Economy can represent not only a response to the social and environmental problems the country [Brazil] currently faces, but also an additional US$ 538 billion to Brazil’s GDP by 2030. This means potential benefits of a set of policies focused on a path of growth, job creation, and competitive advantage in the face of climate and generational changes.”
Businesses driven by bioprocesses have real potential to contribute to the New Economy, especially in Brazil, a country responsible for housing more than 20% of the total species on the planet. According to the Ministry of the Environment, Brazil has the largest biodiversity in the world, with more than 116,000 animal species and more than 46,000 known plant species in the six terrestrial biomes and marine ecosystems, the latter representing 3.5 million km2, a maritime space called Blue Amazon, given itsimportance compared to the Green Amazon.
This affluent biodiversity is a source of resources and opportunities, as conservation, sustainable use, and care for its valuable genetic heritage can be boosted. The supply of molecules for biotechnological application is characterized as an ecosystem service of nature itself, and bioprospecting is the key to access such resource.
Bioprospecting aims at the research, identification, and application of bioproducts found in nature, which can be used in the development of innovative products for health, personal care, agriculture, nutrition, and many other markets. This field of biotechnology gains even more prominence through the development of microorganism banks associated with biodiversity, boosting sustainable bioprospecting from compounds from a highly renewable and exclusive source. In this sense, the more preserved the biome, the greater the possibilities of having access to species and microorganisms that are unique to a given environment for the development of effective and safe products, converting them into a strategic advantage for the business.
Renowned for its rich biological diversity and high degree of conservation of species, the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha becomes one of the ideal places for prospecting samples of microorganisms with effective biotechnological potential. Once isolated and cultivated, these microorganisms can be easily replicated on a large scale for the production of compounds of interest, besides allowing constantly renewed stocks.
“This was the key aspect for the start of Apoena Biotech’s sustainable bioprospecting activities in July 2022,” says Bruno Carillo, Chief Operating Officer. “By choosing Noronha as the archipelago representing Blue Amazon, we value and boost the development of Brazilian biotechnology from one of the richest ecosystems in the world, enabling the creation of unique sustainable products that help preservation, opening new opportunities for the development of innovative solutions.”
Sustainable bioprospecting favors access to unexplored microorganisms with biotechnological potentialm (enabling the expansion of innovative and environmentally responsible product lines), just as biotechnology is capable of generating alternatives for the replacement of traditional non-sustainable raw materials and processes, favoring long-term continuity and profitability to the business.
“But in order for biotechnological products to effectively be consolidated as a possibility of sustainable and exponential revenue – boosting the CT&F sector in the New Economy – special attention is needed to new business in bioprocesses. We are aware of the transition journey and the short-term business impacts. However, the search for regenerative solutions is a path without return, and that is a fact. Therefore, we believe and invest in collaborative innovation to bring about these solutions, aiming at the development and strengthening of the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance ecosystem. People, companies, and the planet win,” concludes Carillo.
From the collection of biodiversity samples in the Blue Amazon, Apoena Biotech began developing a marine bacteria bank with biotechnological potential for supporting the creation of products in different markets. However, its initial screening plans are focused on applications for the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance sector.
The request for authorization for the collection of biological material in the Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, by Apoena Biotech, was granted via SISBIO (Biodiversity Authorization and Information System) and approved by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), a government agency under special regime linked to the Ministry of the Environment and member of the National Environment System (Sisnama).