Sargassum: from environmental problem to agricultural resource: the ValoSarg project
Landings of large amounts of Sargassum on the shores of Caribbean islands and Gulf of Mexico pollute the coasts and cause a decrease in tourism. In this project, the valorization of Sargassum to products of interest in the region will be addressed, to prevent the problems caused by this biomass.
During growth at sea, sargassum (a type of micro-alga) covers large surface areas, resulting in light limitation and negative impact on the ecosystems. When landing on shore of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, it pollutes the coast and may cause environmental and health problems to humans and animals. Sargassum biomass also has a large currently untapped potential for valorisation. Bottlenecks for valorisation include a lack of large-scale storage capacities and lack of large-scale processing infrastructure. In collaboration with Dutch and local partners, we will develop strategies for the valorization of sargassum.