Vietnam builds a data set on marine lipids

Scientists at the Institute of Natural Products Chemistry analyzed more than 500 marine samples to build the first marine lipid database for Vietnam.

This is the result of research conducted for more than two decades by Prof. Dr. Pham Quoc Long, Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Institute of Natural Products Chemistry, and his colleagues.

Lipid data, also known as lipidome, can be used to assess the biodiversity of a marine area. Looking at lipids, scientists will have a trove of data to understand what has been going on within that ecosystem.

Professor Long said, lipid research can help scientists solve a series of problems when learning about marine life. Specifically, applications in determining lipid biosynthetic pathways, chemical analysis of lipids, determining the influence of biotic and abiotic factors, investigation of reproductive cycles, food chains, and the variation of their composition and content according to environmental conditions and the relationship between the host and symbiotic microorganisms.

Accordingly, since 2000, Professor Long and his colleagues at the Institute of Natural Products Chemistry have conducted a series of research projects on the lipid composition of marine organisms. The team collects samples, analyzes chemical components in marine organisms and finds new, previously unknown active ingredients. There are more than 500 biological samples in three Vietnamese sea areas, including the Northeast, North Central, Central and South Central seas, collected and surveyed.

Prof. Dr. Pham Quoc Long (standing in the middle) and research team at the Institute of Natural Products Chemistry, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology. Image: VAST.

According to Professor Long, compared to researching terrestrial organisms, collecting marine samples is a huge challenge. Even with coastal marine creatures, scientists must hire groups of professional divers to dive to depths of 20-30 m to search and take samples. Collecting samples of offshore marine life requires a ship, an onboard laboratory and specialized diving equipment such as diving bells, submersibles, diving robots…

Previously, Vietnamese scientists could only proactively collect samples of coastal marine life. However, in recent years, based on the friendly cooperation program with the Academician ship Oparin, of the Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor Long’s research team has expanded the database. mine.

During 8 visits to Vietnam (most recently in 2023), the Academician ship Oparin has helped Vietnamese scientists collect thousands of samples of offshore marine life, serving basic scientific research, including There is research to build a lipid database for Vietnamese marine organisms.

In addition, the cooperation program with the Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences also allows Vietnamese scientists to access many of the world’s most modern tools for analyzing the chemical composition of marine organisms.

Mr. Long said that with modern analytical tools such as LCMS-IT-TOF and the help of scientists from the Russian Federation, the team has comprehensively surveyed the composition and content of total lipids and classes. lipids, phospholipids and fatty acids of hundreds of Vietnamese marine creatures. Among these are “the molecular structures of phospholipids that have been surveyed for the first time in the world,” Professor Long said.

Lipid analysis spectrum image of a Golden Sea urchin sample collected at a depth of 20-30 meters in Nha Trang waters. From this spectrum, scientists have read out 7 classes of lipids and more than 200 different types of phospholipid molecules. Photo: Research team.

The research team is planning to conduct surveys in the Southern region, from Vung Tau to Ca Mau, to continue collecting samples and analyzing the chemical composition of marine organisms.

“The final phase of this research will fill in the missing part in the Vietnamese marine lipid database,” said Professor Long. It is expected that work will be carried out from now until 2026.

By Editor

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