About the speaker:
A PhD student at the University of Stavanger with a background in chemistry and kelp ecophysiology, Pierre’s interests include using molecular biology to improve seaweed cultivation. His research on the red seaweed Palmaria palmata (dulse), focuses primarily on mechanisms and drivers of reproduction, growth and nutritional quality.
The University of Stavanger, on the Southwest Coast of Norway, has 12,000 students and 1,600 faculty, administration and service staff. The research group on Ecotoxicology and Environmental Monitoring lead by Professor Daniela M. Pampanin focuses on the development of biological markers using molecular biology techniques for the purpose of environmental monitoring.
The red seaweed Palmaria palmata (dulse) is garnering increasing interest due to its high potential for aquaculture. Its high protein and micronutrient content and bioactivity make it an attractive product both as foodstuffs and nutraceutical supplement. However, these properties display wide variation, and the underlying mechanisms remain poorly studied. The resulting uncertainty in product quality and yields increases risks when establishing dulse cultivations and hinders the development of sustainable aquaculture methods for this species.
The research explores the variability in protein content and bioactive properties of P. palmata depending on season, growth conditions and plant age, in an effort to determine viable cultivation methods and optimal harvesting times specific to the species. They combined in vitro antioxidant and anti-hypertensive assays with in silico protein work. They also used simulated human digestion to increase the biological relevance of our results, while suggesting potential product treatment to maximise the benefits of dulse consumption.
Pierre will present the highlights of this research and hope to encourage relevant stakeholders to carry out larger-scale trials based on their findings and recommendations to continue bolstering the development of dulse aquaculture.