Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Application of Green Technology in the Production of Pharmaceuticals

EPA Grant Number: SU836033
Title: Application of Green Technology in the Production of Pharmaceuticals
Investigators: Manning, Thomas J. , Nienow, James , Phillips, Dennis
Institution: Valdosta State University , University of Georgia
EPA Project Officer: Lank, Gregory
Project Period: August 15, 2011 through August 14, 2012
Project Amount: $14,900
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture , P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemistry , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability



This project focuses on the economical and green production of pharmaceutical agents, particularly those that come from the ocean. It will use the difficult to produce bryostatin (cancer, Alzheimer’s), ET743 (soft tissue sarcoma) and taxol (land based, cancer) as prototype to fully develop the technique.


This is a low cost approach our group has been developing for almost a decade. As opposed to chemical synthesis or genetics, it is a form of aquaculture. It uses low cost, safe nutrients and has no impact on the environment. We have bacteria farms that sit in ocean for a period of time, allow specific microbes to colonize it, and then harvest the drug using a natural polymer. The chemical composition of the bacteria farm surface determines the species present. These microbes produce cancer and Alzheimer’s drugs that currently cost.

Expected Results:

A specific chemical matrix is made that provides both a colonization surface and a series of nutrients for marine and terrestrial microbes. It is left in the host ecosystem for up to one month. We have found that colonization and proliferation is a time consuming process and attempting to do it quickly (i.e. Petri dish) or in a non-selective manner (standard agars) does not work. The microbes produce cancer and Alzheimer’s drugs that currently cost millions. This will be conducted by students (over two dozen students have co-authored papers on the topic to date) and portions will be incorporated into undergraduate courses. We have developed this concept over the past decade and have marked our progress with journal articles. The ultimate goal of this project, which we would like to achieve with P3 assistance, is the bulk production of bryostatin, ET743 and taxol (gram quantities). By using a solvent free green process that harness microbes that naturally reside in the ocean, ultra expensive pharmaceutical agents can be made cheaper and new medicinal agents discovered.

Supplemental Keywords:

mass spectrometry, marine environment;