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SEAFOODTURE

Integral valorisation of seaweed biomass for the development of sustainable, high nutritional quality food products

Key facts

Proposal no: SBEP2023-39

Status: ongoing

Duration:
1 Jan 2024 - 31 Dec 2024

Intervention Area:
PA3 - Climate-neutral, environmentally sustainable and resource-efficient blue food and feed

Description

SEAFOODTURE is an ambitious project which aims to contribute towards an integral valorisation of seaweeds for the production of sustainable, high nutritional quality food products. The project combines research activities dealing with: sustainable cultivation of seaweeds; development of protein-rich ingredients and seaweed-based food products through green technologies; production of bio-based packaging materials; structural and techno-functional characterization; assessment of nutritional quality and digestibility; sensorial and consumer studies to bring the products closer to the final markets; and life cycle assessment (LCA) and socio-economic analysis, to ensure the environmental social and economic sustainability. This will be achieved by combining the complementary and multidisciplinary expertise of the European academic and industry partners involved in this proposal and the participation of relevant stakeholders.

The food industry is facing great challenges, motivated by society’s needs and environmental concerns. The rapid population growth is pushing food production towards its limits, and reliance on animal-based protein sources puts additional strain on the environment. Moreover, plant protein sources need to be complemented by novel cultivars, less dependent on the use of water and lands. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop additional protein-rich food products with high nutritional quality by exploiting non-traditional sources. Seaweeds are attracting great interest due to their advantages over land biomass; however, they are still largely unexplored as foods, which is mostly due to (i) the lack of sustainable and robust strategies for the supply of seaweed biomass, (ii) the scarce knowledge on their techno-functional and nutritional properties, which makes it challenging to process them and ensure product stability/safety at industrial scale, (iii) the knowledge gap with regards to the digestibility and bioaccessibility of their proteins and (iv) the low awareness of consumers in European countries towards seaweed-based products. In this project, we aim to exploit the full potential of seaweeds as an alternative and sustainable protein source by investigating the techno-functional and nutritional properties of protein-rich products in which proteins will be combined with other components such as dietary fibres, providing health and techno-functional benefits. Furthermore, with the aim of minimizing the amount of waste generated through the manufacturing process, residues obtained after the extraction of protein-rich ingredients will be used to generate bio-based food packaging materials. This will allow to develop novel seaweed-based food products through a circular economy approach. The project is expected to have a strongly positive impact on the seaweed industry, fostering an efficient biomass utilization to generate high added value products and promoting the consumption of seaweed-based foods amongst EU consumers.

Project partners

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Spain
CSIC
Coordinator

DICMA of SAPIENZA University of Rome

Italy
SAP
Partner

Innovate Food Technology LTD. T/A Innovate Solutions

Ireland
IFT
Partner

Matís Ohf.

Iceland
Matís
Partner

PORTO-MUIÑOS

Portugal
PORTO-MUIÑOS
Partner

Tarsus University

Turkey
TAU
Partner

Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

Spain
USC
Partner

University of Aveiro

Portugal
UAveiro
Partner

University of Tartu

Estonia
UT
Partner

SINTEF AS

Norway
SINTEF
Partner