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Novel Ingredients from Seaweed Extracts (NISE)


Commercial seaweed production
This project investigates aquaculture techniques for commercially viable production of selected seaweed species. The market demand for seaweeds and their extracts cannot be satisfied by harvesting of wild stocks alone and globally 95.5% of the 19.9 million tonnes of seaweed produced in 2010, were cultivated. Cultivation of seaweeds not only reduces pressure on wild stocks and the ecosystems they support but also ensures a reliable and high quality product which can be supplied on demand to various industries.


Welsh Seaweed Aquaculture

Although in the UK, Porphyra spp. for use in the laver bread industry is collected by hand from natural sources most is now derived from cultivation in Japan, the Republic of Korea and China.  Production of P.palmata and Saccharina latissima - the target species for this project - is limited to small scale hand collection from natural resources for local consumption. However techniques for cultivation are well documented and proven and there is scope for commercial scale offshore production.

Our Aquaculture Technique
Cultivation of Saccharina latissima and Palmaria palmata uses well established techniques for inducing sporulation in reproductive specimens. Suitable wild specimens will be hand picked and brought back to the lab, rinsed and reproductive fragments will be separated from the rest of the frond. To induce sporing the fragements are immersed in chilled filtered seawater. This procedure should encourage the reproductive tissue to release spores and should result in a concentrated spore solution. Various systems have been popularised for spore settlement, some researchers use a 2mm nylon twine or 5mm polypropylene rope spool system whilst others favour frames and nets made of 2mm. The spools or frames are then submerged in enriched filtered seawater and to this the spore solution is added resulting in growth of the seaweed achored to the rope or frame.