TIME.CO, Jakarta – National Agency for Research and Innovation (BRIN) Find bacteria priestia flexa from the deep sea of the Java Trench which has the potential for high economic value with its lycopene and vitamin B12.
“This deep-sea bacterium was successfully isolated from seawater samples at a depth of 1,000 meters,” said Ocky Karna Radjasa, deep-sea microbiology expert at BRIN, quoted by Antara, Monday, October 30, 2023.
He explained that using the Whole Genome Sequence (WGS) data method, the bacteria, taken for the first time from the depths of the sea in Indonesia, contain natural ingredients that are usually used for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
“This bacterium contains lycopene and vitamin B12. In industry it is usually used as a raw material for cosmetics, beauty, nutrition, supplements and pharmaceuticals, and the health food industry needs these microbes,” he said.
He explained that lycopene has an antioxidant function that counteracts the oxidation of cells or tissues by reactive oxidant species (ROS), thus helping to prevent heart disease and having anti-tumor effects.
Generally, lycopene content is obtained from plants that provide red and orange colors or pigments to fruits and vegetables. This compound is classified as a carotenoid and has antioxidant properties. This pigment is found in tomatoes, watermelon and guava.
He said the discovery of lycopene from the deep sea could provide measures of efficiency. He gave the example of lycopene, which usually comes from tomatoes, which requires a 75-day harvesting process, so it requires land and during processing requires a large area to store it and turn it into lycopene.
With lycopene sourced from the deep sea, he said, it takes only three days to grow the Pricyia flexa bacterium whose contents can be extracted.
He said the storage and production of microbes in lycopene does not require a large space like that of tomatoes. “Interestingly, microbe-derived lycopene products have a higher content than standard original products,” she said.
If we look at the global market trends, lycopene is worth $107.2 million in 2020 and is expected to increase to $187.3 million in 2030 with an expected annual growth of 5.2%.
Ocky, who also heads the BRIN Land and Maritime Research Organization, explained that the discovery of the Pristeria flexa bacterium in the Indonesian deep sea is a step towards efficiency and has economic potential in Indonesia. Currently, the national requirement of lycopene is still imported.
“Although the fruit is available in Indonesia, currently all domestic industries are still 100% imported for their lycopene needs,” he said.
As for the vitamin B12 content found in the Pristeria flexa bacterium, he said, it presents great potential for producers of healthy vegetarian-based foods. “Vitamin B12 from deep-sea microbes has great potential for vegetarians who need protein but not animal sources,” she said.
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is useful in the process of formation of red blood cells. Cobalamin also plays a role in the process of protein metabolism. Sources of vitamin B12 are usually obtained from red meat, liver, eggs and milk.
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