Seaweed production systems with high-value applications (Sweaweed)

This project is carried out in the group of Industrial Biotechnology.

Researchers: Venkat rao Konasani, Eric Malmhäll Bah, Eva Albers

The overall aim is to develop and culture novel strains for the cultivation of valuable red (Porphyra sp.) and green (Ulva lactuca) seaweeds in Sweden, and to develop sustainable techniques for extraction of high value compounds from the resulting biomass. This biorefinery envisages the development of three groups of products: food ingredients, fine chemicals and new bio-based materials. At the division of Industrial Biotechnology we focus on bioprospecting of marine enzymes, assisting the disintegration and biorefining of seaweed biomass, and developing extraction processes for recovery of fine chemicals. These are all essential steps to optimise for an effective biorefinery.

For successful extraction of high value compounds from seaweeds, smart and efficient techniques to open up the cellular structures are needed along with techniques to reduce particle size. Enzymes specifically active on seaweed components could play a role in these processes. Several of the compounds building the seaweed biomass are unique and not found in terrestrial plants. Thus, bioprospecting for novel marine enzymes active in degradation and modification of seaweed specific components is an important task to generate tools for extraction and recovery of seaweed products. These enzymes can also aid in the extraction of specific fine chemicals for technical and medical applications by targeted release of defined compounds, but could also be used as biocatalysts for modification of algal components to alter their function or stability.The project is a collaboration between Göteborg University, KTH and the division of Food and Nutrition Science at our department.

Funding: SSF

Published: Mon 19 Sep 2016. Modified: Thu 13 Oct 2016