UBQ (Unidade de Bioquímica, Madeira) is a micro-enterprise based in Autonomous Region of Madeira that strives to position itself in the field of R & D, and more specifically in the blue biotechnology market. The UBQ was founded in 2011 and its founder and administrator Dr. João Dionísio. The company began trading in late 2014. UQB has historical background the Laboratórios Farmacêuticos Zior, Dr. Rodrigues Dionísio, who, in the 70s, XX century, developed several galenic formulas, in order to combat nutritional deficiencies in the Madeiran population. The company has offices in Funchal and industrial facilities in the industrial park of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos. At this stage of installation and implementation the UBQ has enjoyed a partnership with the Universidade da Madeira, through BG ISOPlexis, which has provided support and advice on research and development, provision of laboratories and equipment, development and innovation of products for commercial activity company.

UBQ boasts a strategic plan that involves the selection and production of macro-algae, which will be used in:

  • Consumption fresh or preserved;
  • Raw material for processing and incorporation into products for large food intake as flavoring or additives;
  • Production of natural extracts that will be used in supplements in the prevention of some shortcomings, particularly the lack of iodine;

Implementing this strategy will contribute to region’s efforts under the Estratégia para o Mar e desenvolvimento da Economia Azul (Strategy for the Seas and development of the Blue Economy), with the semi-domestication, cultivation and exploitation of marine resources currently unexploited.

UBQ has made efforts to successfully implement its business strategy, which depends on meeting several conditions:

  • Implementation of aquaculture for the production of macro-algae in semi captive, tanks, which in perspective will pass through crops in marine platforms.
  • Development of its manufacturing facilities, with the implementation of an industrial laboratory and a production line;
  • Research and development of innovative products and added value.

Scientific Framework

UBQ II develops its products with intention to combat iodine deficiency still present in more than 1 billion people globally (about 19% of the population) who are at risk of contracting diseases caused by the deficiency in the consumption of this mineral, and the most common endocrine disease in the world. About 200 to 300 million people suffer from visible gout disease or similar events and about 6 million are cretins (Survey, 2000). According to the WHO, this deficiency is a public health problem and recently published an estimate that 54 countries of 126 still have an inadequate intake of iodine and 23 million babies still are born with an iodine consumption, considered insufficient. As the WHO international prevents salt consumption as a risk of hypertension, this fortification should be abandoned iodine (Zimmermann, 2007).

Goiter is the visible manifestations of the iodine deficiency by increasing the thyroid to disproportional levels, which can be reversed with the supplementation of iodine or increasing the consumption of food containing an appropriate amount of iodine. The cretinism is also a result of this intake deficiency when the mother has a low iodine intake during pregnancy, especially in the second quarter, posing a threat to economic and social development of countries. Iodine administration during the second quarter of pregnancy reverses the damage caused by iodine deficiency. However, the damage made after the end of the second quarter of pregnancy are permanent. This nutritional deficiency also causes decreased fertility, increased miscarriage and infant mortality (Zimmermann, 2007). Low food consumption from the sea due to the high cost and low availability and also by the presence of goitrogenics in certain foods can lead to improper use of iodine in the organism.