Physalia Physalis

Innovative and unexploited source of high added-value cosmetic products

Physalia Physalis

Innovative and unexploited source of high added-value cosmetic products

Physalia Physalis

Innovative and unexploited source of high added-value cosmetic products

Working together for a green, competitive and inclusive Europe!

About this Project

The Physalia Physalis project is promoted by Mesosystem SME in partnership with the UAç, UM and Nofima. It aims to develop and commercialize a new range of innovative products based on collagen and other substances extracted from P. physalis biomass, with application in biomedical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. The implementation of this project is crucial for Mesosystem, because it is an opportunity to introduce an innovative range of products in the cosmetic market and it will increase the company’s competitiveness in the global market. P. physalis will be a new raw material for Mesosystem and, as explained before, it constitutes a lower foot printer, which means a new competitive advantage and a new market positioning for this SME. Physalia Physalis project contributes to the main objective of this call (“Call#2 – Business Development, Innovation and SMEs”), since Mesosystem will develop, apply and commercialize innovative products, resulting from blue biotechnology process and an intensive cooperation between research partners, as well as from the deep scientific and technological knowledge created during the R&D activities. According to this, aligned with the projects eligible for funding under this call, the scope of P. Physalis project is to “Develop innovative processes for the Blue Growth sector” and “Apply innovative blue processes (new-to-the enterprise) including investments to increase production capacity”. The main area of intervention of the Physalia Physalis project is the blue biotechnology, since biological knowledge and techniques, namely cutting-edge molecular and genomic biological applications, will be applied to create innovative products for humans. According to Merquiol et al., since terrestrial habitats are generally overexploited, research in the last two decades has focused on marine organisms as they have been found to process or synthesize bioactive compounds that often have no terrestrial counterparts and which may, therefore, find new biotechnological applications in different fields. This is exactly the main goal of this project to use P. physalis for collagen extraction, making its application in the cosmetic industry more sustainable, and removing the jellyfish blooms that can be detrimental to coastal aquaculture through damage to caged fish, and to tourism by curtailing bathing activities. According to this, it is expected that the project can have a positive effect for the blue economy, facing the risks associated with the increase of P. physalis activity. On the other side, it will provide affordable raw material for Mesosystem company, which would create innovative products and increase their added value.

Research Fellows

Aims of the Project

Physalia Physalis project aims to take advantage of the potential existing in one of the most dangerous and valuable marine species that occupy our oceans and develop a mass extraction process of collagen for commercial purposes (a new range of products for the medical and cosmetic industry). Simultaneously, it is intended to extract from this marine biomass other substances, such as a toxin, with potential interest for other industries such as biomedicine and pharmaceuticals. The ambition existing in the present project culminates in the constitution of a consortium composed of 4 key entities in the economic valorisation of the marine biomass based on P. physalis, decisive for the Blue Growth, through Blue Biotechnology. They are: two Portuguese Research Centres – Centro de Biotecnologia dos Açores – University of Azores (UAc) and Centro de Engenharia Biológica – University of Minho (UM) -, one Norwegian Research Institute – Nofima – The Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and AqUAçulture Research -, and finally a Portuguese SME dedicated to the creation and commercialisation of high-quality cosmetic products – Mesosystem S.A.


Optimization of toxin separation
and collagen extraction

This activity aims to implement a high-performance extraction process capable of removing the venom from biomass of P. physalis. The venom extraction will be achieved by UAÇ using different techniques, as it is distributed in microscopic individual nematocysts, each containing picograms of protein. It is intended to develop a rapid, repeatable, cost-effective, and scalable technique based on organic solvents to induce the discharge of nematocysts, thus recovering the venom content in just one step. 


Preparation and functional evaluation of collagen oligopeptide-rich hydrolysates

This activity has two main goals. The first goal is to obtain collagen oligopeptides-rich extracted from P. physalis using cold- adapted proteases from psychrophiles bacteria isolated from deep-sea. The second goal is to characterize the obtain collagen oligopeptides-rich in terms of its bioactivity and potential to be used in medic or dermo cosmetic applications.


Development of cosmetics formulations and new products for skin regeneration using collagen hydrolysates

This activity aims to develop formulations for biomedical applications. The therapeutic/cosmetic formulations will be based on the development of emulsions since they allow a controlled delivery and an optimal dispersion of the active ingredients in the different layers of the skin. The formulations to be developed in this project will be prepared by incorporating collagen peptides into the emulsion droplets in different proportions.


Assessment of the Physalia physalis toxins with potential for cosmetics and health

Venom toxins will be identified by genomics through transcriptomic deep sequencing from P. physalis tentacle tissues to obtain a catalogue of transcripts encoding toxins.


Development of a small pilot plant-system for collagen extraction

The purpose of this task is to set up a pilot scale process to extract collagen and to produce collagen peptides from P. physalis. As a result of this activity, it is expected to obtain 3 deliverables: prototype production in pilot scale (30 L) of extracted collagen and collagen hydrolysate for testing and evaluation (D5.1); report based on the results from pilot production (D5.2), and recommendation for small pilot-scale set up (D5.3). The following image illustrates the process to extract collagen at pilot scale.


Management and Dissemination

This activity aims to ensure a timely execution of the project and achievement of the proposed objectives, the implementation of proper communication tools between partners and finally to guarantee the follow-up of the activities and investments plan.


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