Seagriculture EU
29 - 30 June 2022
Bremerhaven, Germany

ValgOrize project- Seaweed and microalgae with a better taste!

Johan Robbens, Head of Cell Blue Biotech/Food Integrity, ILVO - Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, BE

About the speaker:

Johan Robbens has a PhD in Biotechnology, and has worked in various research areas: genomics, proteomics, (eco)toxicology. His scientific career was at  Ghent University, Antwerp University and ILVO.  He also earned an MBA and has been scientific advisor to a biotech investment fund. He currently works at ILVO (ILVO-Marine), as head of the Blue Biotech/Food Integrity unit. His research activities are linked to valorisation of marine resources, including valorisation of algae as food and feed, valorisation of marine by-products such as shells for applications in agriculture and industry. He has a broad network and is partner in different research proposals at regional, national or European level. Related to valorisation of marine resources, he is coordinator of the Interreg2 Seas project ValgOrize, was partner/WPleader in H2020 Seafoodtomorrow, and in Horizon Europe GeneBEcon project. He did coordinate the Eranet BlueShell and is now partner in the Eranet BlueCC. He is also partner in the Cost-Action Ocean4Biotech.

Company info:

ILVO- Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is an independent scientific research institute of Flanders Government (Belgium). Its assignment from the government is to work on the sustainability of agriculture, fisheries and agri-food sector. The mission of ILVO is clear and remarkably contemporary: to build knowledge that will make it possible to produce enough healthy and varied food for the 10 billion people that the world will need to feed while staying within our planetary limits.

To perform this mission, ILVO performs multidisciplinary, ground-breaking and independent research. In this way, ILVO builds the fundamental and applied knowledge needed for improving products and production methods, to ensure quality and safety of the end-products and to improve the policy instruments at the foundation of sector development and rural policy.

Using applied research, ILVO aims to provide answers to the challenges facing everyone involved in the greater food agri-food chain and the rural environment.

Living labs: ILVO regularly enters into dialogue with policymakers, stakeholders and society. To further build on its role as a future- and demand-driven knowledge center, ILVO works with living labs – “ecosystems” where researchers, end-users, stakeholders, citizens and even cities or regions can meet up and work on co-creative research. The Marine living Lab is at the front of our marine developments.


Nowadays the world copes with several challenges. We need to feed the world, now but also in the future. For climate and sustainability reasons, a protein shift is needed away from meat-driven food. Algae -micro and macro algae-based food could give an answer to these societal challenges. However so far the consumer acceptance is limited. We believe taste and palatability could be a good driver for further acceptance of algae food. Within our project, we are able to objectively unravel taste and palatability and want to produce algae biomass with an optimal (European) taste that will be of added value for the food producers


Microalgae, macroalgae, palatability, food security, sustainability