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Seagriculture 2019

8th International Seaweed Conference

"Seaweed Success Stories"

25-26 September 2019, Ostend, Belgium

Urd Grandorf Bak, Research manager, Ocean Rainforest, FO 

“Commercial kelp processing and storage including ensilage methods for value creation and improved health”




Urd G. Bak has been working for Ocean Rainforest since November 2014, as the research manager. She holds a M.Sc. in Environmental Biology from Roskilde University, Denmark, and in May 2019, she completed an Industrial PhD made in the company Ocean Rainforest and at the Technical University of Denmark, DTU. The PhD title was: “Seaweed cultivation in the Faroe Islands: An investigation of the biochemical composition of selected macroalgal species, optimized seeding technics, and open-ocean cultivation methods from a commercial perspective.” Urd is expert in offshore seaweed cultivation, structural designs, growth rates, harvesting and seeding, and her focus has been on the native kelp species of the Faroe Islands plus the popular edible red species Palmaria palmata. Urd has a good understanding of the seasonal variation of the biochemical composition of the cultivated seaweed species and working experience with bringing the biomass into storage stable intermediates. 

Seaweed is recognised as new blue biomass that will help to feed the world. Today, most seaweeds (99%) are produced in Asia, with a global production of 30 million tonnes ww/year (FAO et al. 2017); but new initiatives are developing the industry in the remaining world and the market demand and global production is foreseen to keep increasing. Seaweed and mainly large brown macroalgae species can be cultivated offshore in large scale like done by Ocean Rainforest (Bak et al. 2018). These edible kelp species have a high content of carbohydrates (alginate, mannitol, laminarin, fucoidan, galactose and cellulose), and a low protein and fat concentration, but with high protein quality (Essential amino acid-score >100%) (Bak et al. 2019) and containing important fatty acids like EPA (Eicosapentaenoic) (Bak 2019). The kelps cultivated in the Faroe Islands can be harvested from April to October, and all year-round supply is depending on long lasting and bio secure storage methods. The freshly harvested biomass has a fast degradation time (<24h) and bringing the biomass into storage stable intermediates in a low-cost and environmentally friendly is therefore a key issue for the industry and has consequently been investigated by the EU BBI funded research project Macro Cascade. Macro Cascade has tested industrial ensilage methods and developed effective fermentation methods to store 1m3 batches in up to 12 months, and thus ensuring the year-round supply of seaweed biomass. The fermented seaweed product was tested in pig feed products as an alternative to zinc and antibiotics, and as a healthy food supplement to patients with stomach diseases.  

Keywords: Biochemical composition, storage stable intermediates, seasonality, offshore farming, Saccharina latissima

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