As seen in previous blogs, colleagues at the University of Portsmouth (UK) and Aleor (France) are currently cultivating different types of seaweed to understand their ability to take up nutrients from the water. This is to quantify the ability of farmed seaweeds to bio-remediate excessive nutrients in coastal waters, and to help improving water quality.
At the same time, seaweeds can provide other (ecosystem) services (such as coastal protection, food provisioning) and can be adopted in many products. In fact, seaweed biomass is highly versatile and can be used from textiles to plastic-substitutes, from highly nutritious human food to animal feed, supporting dynamic and innovative industries in the UK and abroad.
I recently completed a review of the seaweed industries in the UK (Seaweed Industries and Products in the UK: A Brief Review | SpringerLink) and I was fascinated by the variety of products I discovered. The “food and drink” industry is currently the main target of seaweed-focused businesses in the UK. Seaweeds can be bought as dry whole leaf or flakes, but can also be enjoyed in crackers, snacks, sauces, and flavoured popcorns, nuts, oil, cheese, chocolate, beer, and gin! It is not just about the humami flavour; seaweeds are a low-fat, rich source of nutrients, have satiating properties and can be used as salt substitute.
Picture of Oarweed, Laminaria Kelp (Cefas, UK)
Picture of sugar kelp – Saccharina latissima – seaweed on rocky shores of the UK (Natural England, UK)
Seaweeds could also make you look and feel better! …As suggested by the second and third most common end uses for seaweed biomass in the UK (beauty industry and nutraceuticals industry, respectively). Seaweeds are used as plant growth enhancer, soil conditioner and as feed and supplements for pets and farmed animals. In fact, RaNTrans colleagues are feeding seaweeds to polychaete worms in some of the experiments carried out at the University of Portsmouth, as a potential way to use green seaweed mats.
Overview of uses of seaweed in UK (Cefas, UK)
Although seaweeds can represent a critical environmental challenge in some parts of the UK and France coasts, they can also provide potential new products, value chains and industries. With its work on algae cultivation and harvesting, as well as aquaculture feed, RaNTrans is providing evidence on how to transform a potential nuisance into a valuable resource.
⏰Save the Date! ⏰RaNTrans is hosting a workshop at @portsmouthuni on November 3rd and 4th 2022. Register your interest here – https://rantransproject.com/rantrans-workshop/
Also check out our latest tweets https://twitter.com/ProjectRaNTrans/status/1512395527828213769