Seaweed as a new ingredient to design healthier and more sustainable food products

Projektförslag för kandidatarbete inom inst. Kemi och kemiteknik och Biologi och bioteknik
​Projektexamenskod: BBTX01-21-01 

Avdelningen för Livsmedelsvetenskap
Institutionen för Biologi och Bioteknik, Chalmers tekniska högskola 

Consumer interest for healthy, nutritional, convenient, and sustainable food products has been on the rise over the past years.
A promising strategy to satisfy these latest trends could be to incorporate seaweed in food formulations. Seaweed can be a source of value-added ingredients, such as protein, dietary fibers, minerals, polyunsaturated acids, and phenolics. Vitamins such as C and B12 are also present in many seaweed species. Additionally, seaweed biomass is considered sustainable since its cultivation contributes to carbon sequestering as well as nitrogen and phosphorous remediation, and they do not require freshwater nor arable land to grow. Therefore, seaweed-based food products can conjugate nutritional and health benefits with sustainability. Our research group currently leads, and participates in several seaweed projects. Recently, in a pilot study, we have examined the attitudes of Swedish consumers towards seaweed as food, which were very positive. Besides that, we are actively working with industry to investigate the potential of incorporating whole seaweed or seaweed ingredients into different food matrices. Several scientific aspects need to be addressed to achieve successful incorporation. These include potential changes in the nutritional, physical, chemical, sensorial, and microbiological properties of the final product. Most of the above properties will be governed by factors that need to be examined, such as type of seaweed (green vs brown or red), its chemical composition, its concentration in the final food formula and the type of food product hosting the seaweed or seaweed ingredient.

This project has the following aims:
  1. Identify promising food products on the Swedish market that have the potential for being enriched with seaweed, with a special focus on convenience foods; 
  2. Design new prototypes of some of these promising food products, using seaweed available via our seaweed projects;
  3. Evaluate the effects of incorporating seaweed on the physicochemical and sensorial properties of the targeted food products.
Genomförande /Viktiga moment/teknikinnehåll 
1. identifying promising food products for incorporation of seaweed based on their convenience, consumer interest, and composition. Background knowledge in our group, literature, group discussions, web-based searches and inventories at larger food stores will be used. 
2. developing and optimizing 2-3 prototypes of the selected food products using different seaweeds and/or with different post-harvest treatments.
3. examining the composition of the developed products in terms of protein, ash, and moisture content using gravimetric and colorimetric methods as well as their color, texture, storage stability and sensorial properties.

Speciella förkunskapskrav: Being creative and curious about seaweed and food product development.

Möjlig målgrupp Bioteknik, Bt, Kemiteknik, K och Kemiteknik med fysik, Kf.

Gruppstorlek: 4–6 studenter 

Förslagsställare/kontaktperson/huvudhandledare: ​​Prof Ingrid Undeland.
Övriga handledare: Dr Mehdi Abdollahi, João Trigo (PhD Student)

Sidansvarig Publicerad: fr 30 okt 2020.