Seaweed is emerging as a sustainable source of nutrients for both humans and animals. In the ProSeaweed program, Wageningen University & Research and the North Sea Farm foundation, together with industry, are conducting research into seaweed applications in food for humans and animals. Furthermore, the program is a platform for new initiatives. Companies that want to join the platform can make this known until February 1st 2019.
Large scale seaweed cultivation for human food and animal feed applications is not yet profitable in Western Europe. To increase the potential value of the seaweed sector, the activities of this program are aimed to develop new seaweed applications. The program aims to stimulate innovations in the whole seaweed sector by developing new knowledge: from cultivation to consumer behaviour. The first two ProSeaeed tenders have resulted in cultivation, certification and animal feed applications. However, this call is open for all subjects, but priority is given to innovations in:
- Development of sustainable cultivation systems: reproduction, 3D cultivation, harvesting, pre-treatment and preservation of seaweed for favourable compounds in seaweed.
- Holistic processing of seaweed to utilize all components, so called ‘total use’, and at the highest possible economic value. For example: carbohydrates (such as alginate, agar, carrageenan, ulvan) / proteins / or high grade residual streams
- Seaweed as alternative resource for human consumption including consumer perception & behaviour
- Environmental impact of seaweed cultivation
- Economic feasibility of seaweed supply chains: when does it become economically viable?
Research projects ProSeaweed
Wageningen University & Research and the North Sea Farm foundation work together with 17 partners in 12 coherent research projects. In these projects, the effect of seaweed as feed supplement is investigated for pigs and pets, health effects for fish, reduction of volatile components (such as methane) in cows, safe use of seaweed by developing norms and a certification standard, and the ecological effects of seaweed cultivation in offshore pilots in the North Sea. Results will be published at the appropriate occasion via the ProSeaweed website that can be found at www.proseaweed.eu.
The multidisciplinary character of seaweed production and the innovations from the ProSeaweed program offer new opportunities to develop a strong seaweed sector. The seaweed sector offers scope for farmers, breeding companies, starting material companies, logistic services, maritime services, food (ingredient) producers, machine construction companies etc. Opportunities by participation in this program can be found in added product value, constant product quality, sharing breeding & cultivation costs by product cascading via seaweed refinery, local production for a circular design, and a supply chain approach.
The program also serves as a vehicle for future PPP research projects from top sector Agri & Food. Companies are invited to join ProSeaweed to jointly develop new knowledge or to get creative ideas to put new innovations on the market. Interested partners can obtain information about the program and / or participation in the program with Willie van den Broek or Koen van Swam.