The certificate was possible due to the unique extraction process Marinova has used. The Australian firm said it is the only company to have developed a coldwater, ethanol-free process to extract fucoidans, which unlike ethanol based extraction does not degrade the product. The process was trademarked in summer. It will come as a big boost to the firm, which can use the certificate to increase the extract's international appeal. Marinova was accredited by the Tasmanian Organic-Dynamic Producers (TOPS). All fucoidan extracts manufactured by Marinova will now be accompanied by an Australian Organic Produce Certificate (OPC). Fucoidans are naturally occurring components of certain edible seaweeds and echinoderms and can be classified as sulphated polysaccharides. They are large sugar polymers made up primarily of the sugar fucose. "While ethanol extraction degrades fucoidan, the Maritech process ensures the resultant extracts are nature equivalent and suitable for all avenues of research and product development," said business development director Nick Falk. The biotechnology firm said it became interested in the polysaccharide because of its ability to act as viral attachment inhibitors, enzyme inhibitors and receptor blockers. In addition to immune support, the company hopes fucoidans could be used in supplements aimed at preventing or alleviating the symptoms of other health indications, including metabolic syndrome, deep vein thrombosis, irritable bowel syndrome and osteoarthrisis. The advantage of the Maritech process is the ability to control the chemical properties of fucoidan, and ensure the extracted molecules retain their natural bioactivity. The molecular weight can be carefully controlled, resulting in fucoidan extracts with specific suitability for different functional and health applications, the company said. Based in Hobart, Tasmania, the Maritech specialises in the medical applications of marine plants before broadening its scope recently into supplying nutraceutical ingredients.