Making seaweed usable as a sustainable source of raw materials

November 1, 2020 |

In Germany, an EU-funded research project BIOCARB-4-FOOD with the participation of the University of Hohenheim is looking for more sustainable processes for the extraction of carbohydrates from macroalgae and seaweed.

In doing so, they investigate the question of how these substances can be obtained from the raw material, produce new types of extracts that can be used as food ingredients – well beyond the use as gelling or thickening agents. Because of the specific properties of these algae carbohydrates, also known as phycocolloids, the scientists also see the potential to use them as smart packaging materials.

The results of BIOCARB-4-FOOD so far are promising: Experiments with the Mediterranean red alga Gelidium sesquipedale show that agar extraction can be considerably simplified if hot water treatment is combined with ultrasound. Compared to conventional methods, the extraction time can be reduced by a factor of four – and this without significantly impairing the extraction yield and the physico-chemical properties of the products.

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Category: Research

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