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Marigot Ltd, University College Dublin and Cardiff University

NATURAL MATERIALS are increasingly investigated for their potential to support the wellbeing of consumers and to be used in treating disease symptoms.

Aquamin, by Marigot Ltd, is a natural marine multimineral complex derived from 100% calcified seaweed. It provides bioactive calcium, magnesium and 72 other trace marine minerals and is currently used as food supplement for animals and humans.

In animals, it increases milk production and supports their general wellbeing. There is a body of clinical research showing that in humans, Aquamin can help with reducing bone loss in osteoporosis and pain in osteoarthritis, as well as contributing to digestive health by enhancing the gut barrier along with its anti-inflammatory activity.

To support Aquamin`s place in the food supplement market and its potential to be used in disease treatment, it is essential to understand how Aquaminbrings these health benefits.

“We don’t really know much about the physical and chemical structure of Aquamin,” said Dr Shane O’Connell, R&D Manager at Marigot, “We need to develop a better understanding of the particle size and particle features”.

To investigate Aquamin`sphysical and chemical structure in detail, Marigot teamed up with CALIN researchers at the Centre for BioNano Interactions, (CBNI) University College Dublin.

CBNI have a long-standing expertise in working with nanoparticles and investigating their biological functions.

“For us it was intriguing to apply all of our knowledge and infrastructure to a naturally derived material that many people really use in everyday life. Working with the company is one of our PhD students, Vanya Petseva who was able, for the first time, to image and characterise it”.

"The material turned out to be one of the most beautiful, naturally occurring complex particulate that we have ever seen, and far beyond what we are able to make still. This is a most exciting experience for us,” said Prof Kenneth Dawson, Director of CBNI and leader of the CALIN team on this collaboration. The ultimate aim of the collaboration is to understand what aspects of Aquamin`s structure contribute to its biological function, providing a significant opportunity to enhance its health benefits in the future, thereby adding value to the product and improving health outcomes for consumers.

“CBNI researchers provided us with very detailed images, size measurements and identification of components in the material. It particularly helps to communicate to customers the uniqueness of the material, what it does and how it does it.” said Dr O`Connell.

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