There is an increasing interest within Western Europe for the cultivation of seaweed as a resource for feed, bio-stimulants for soil and crops, and as a bio-feedstock. The fact that the cultivation of seaweed requires no farmland and that many types grow in salt or brackish water are distinct advantages. As yet, the cultivation of seaweed in the Dutch waters is limited, but in the coming decades more wind farms will be developed in the North Sea with opportunities for a combination with large-scale seaweed cultivation. Seaweed is already cultivated extensively in Asian countries, but the production methods are not always sustainable. Wageningen University & Research (WUR) works on sustainable seaweed cultivation technology, explicitly targeting the North Sea area.
Topics on which our efforts focus are:
- The economic and technological feasibility of large-scale cultivation of seaweed
- Spatial requirements and the effects on the marine ecosystem
- The development of sustainable cultivation methods and seaweed breeding
- The processing of harvested biomass and development of bio-refinery and fermentation technology
- Development of sales channels and business cases
- Taking stock of risks, for example regarding food safety
Our research is project-based. Funding is provided by, among others, the European Union, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Safety, TKI-Agri&Food and the business and seaweed sectors.
Reports and articles
- Report: Development of Offshore Seaweed Cultivation: food safety, cultivation, ecology and economy - Mar 2019
- Report: A Triple P review of the feasibility of sustainable offshore seaweed production in the North Sea - Sep 2013
- Farming at sea - Sustainable seaweed Published in Wageningen World no. 3 2011
Zeewierkoorts: grote plantages kunnen het scosysteem van de Noordzee verstorenZeewierkoorts: grote plantages kunnen het scosysteem van de Noordzee verstoren, NRC, 2022-10-29, Ingrid Gercama, Nathalie Bertrams, Tristen Taylor;Europe considers large-scale seaweed farming; environmental effects unknown, https://news.mongabay.com, 2022-10-21, Ingrid Gercama, Natahlie Bertrams, Tristen Taylor, https://news.mongabay.com/2022/10/europe-considers-large-scale-seaweed-farming-environmental-effects-unknown/
Application of biostimulant products and biological control agents in sustainable viticulture : A reviewFrontiers in Plant Science 13 (2022). - ISSN 1664-462X
Capturing complex ecosystem services evaluation with rubrics : A case-study of seaweed cultivationWageningen : Wageningen Marine Research (Wageningen Marine Research report C063/22) - p.
Seaweed as a solutionZeewier als oplossing, Resource jrg. 17 nr. 5 p. 16-17, 2022-11-04, https://edepot.wur.nl/580186;Seaweed as a solution, Resource jrg. 17 nr. 5 p. 16-17, 2022-11-03, https://edepot.wur.nl/580394
The potential use of fermented seaweed in sustainable dairy diets : evaluation of fermented seaweed plus rapeseed meal on the gas emissions and production characteristics of Dutch dairy cowsWageningen : Wageningen Livestock Research (Report / Wageningen Livestock Research 1389) - p.
Enzyme assisted extraction for seaweed multiproduct biorefinery : A techno-economic analysisFrontiers in Marine Science 9 (2022). - ISSN 2296-7745
The power of seaweeds as plant biostimulants to boost crop production under abiotic stressPlant, Cell & Environment 45 (2022)9. - ISSN 0140-7791 - p. 2537 - 2553.
The Bio Economic Seaweed Model (BESeM) for modelling tropical seaweed cultivation – experimentation and modellingJournal of Applied Phycology 34 (2022)5. - ISSN 0921-8971 - p. 2627 - 2644.
Zeewier en kokkels kweken in de polderZeewier en kokkels kweken in de polder, Noordhollands Dagblad, 2022-02-16, Anja Roubos
Alternative proteins for meat and dairy replacers: Food safety and future trendsCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition (2022). - ISSN 1040-8398