Grant to upscale seaweed production and application
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Grant to upscale seaweed production and application

  • 30 June 2022

Researchers at Wageningen Economic Research are part of a consortium that has been awarded a prestigious €9 million Horizon Europe grant to upscale seaweed production and market applications across Europe.

The consortium called SeaMark (short for "Seaweed-Based Market Applications”) consists of 25 international, cross-disciplinary partners. The project aims to lay the foundations for an entirely new European maritime industry to meet growing demand for seaweed-based products and attract investment from multiple sectors.

Fastest growing crop

For the first time, the team, under coordination of Ocean Rainforest will exploit the full spectrum of products derived from seaweeds on an unprecedented scale – from medicine to cosmetics, human food and animal feed. Seaweeds are among the fastest growing crops on the planet, requiring only sunlight, carbon dioxide and naturally occurring nutrients to grow. They are also rich in bioactive compounds with various medicinal, nutritional and biomechanical properties.

Twelve innovative products

During the four-year project, SeaMark's multi-disciplinary team will develop 12 innovative products with direct market applications, predominantly based on cultivated sugar kelp (S. latissima).These include a bio-packaging material, a meat replacer and feed supplements with pre- and probiotic functional ingredients to improve digestibility, conversion ratios and overall sustainability and productivity of conventional livestock feeds.

Alongside market applications, SeaMark will quantify ecosystem services provided by seaweed farms, contributing to a body of evidence justifying large-scale seaweed cultivation as a biological tool to generate the environment and as a key element of a new circular bioeconomy.

Source: WUR