This project is for a research study into the extraction of hemocyanin from the Slipper Limpet and comparing it against existing hemocyanins used in pharma products. Also the development of a plan for Slipper Limpet extraction and handling for fishermen who catch the limpet as a by-catch.
Mikota will collaborate, for this project and on an ongoing basis, with local stakeholders, fisheries and fishermen to mitigate the negative impact that Slipper Limpets have had on Oyster and Scallop divers as well as SAC’s (Special Areas of Conservation). The plan is to also develop a basic harvesting and handling protocol and methodology for local divers and fishermen to use when they harvest slipper limpets as a by-catch product.
Part of the drive is looking to improve the efficiency, and reduce costs and risks, to divers who forgo the collection of Oysters and Scallops that have limpets on them, as the law forbids their movement within the water, or their return to the sea once removed from the ocean. By providing an avenue for divers and fishermen to “dispose” of any limpets they may catch or harvest, it will allow them to harvest animals, without concern for the cost impact biological waste disposal of the slipper limpets will have on their business. This aspect of the project on its own could improve diver efficiency by a factor of 10, reducing costs and increasing margins and profits. The flow on effect for this is economic growth in those businesses, and probably additional job creation.
For the pre-commercial feasibility, Pharma R&D companies are looking for new compounds; hemocyanin is a known and crucial protein adjuvant for vaccines and cancer therapies. A follow-on project will be the development of a full commercialisation plan for the slipper limpet hemocyanin.
Use of an invasive species for commercial product development will benefit the local coastal region. The medium to long term aim is to clear Slipper Limpet infested sea-beds and native oyster/scallop beds for reseeding by commercial companies, bringing inward investment in aquaculture for Oysters and Scallops in to the local community.
This will be a world first use of the Slipper Limpet for not just hemocyanin investigation but for commercial biotech product investigations.
Mikota are also investigating other UK and EU communities and locations that have been negatively impacted by the Slipper Limpet. Mikota will look to share information and hopefully create new projects for other areas to assist, consult and manage reclamation and regeneration projects. This will generate additional jobs while at the same time, disseminating the information to the wider public.