New research collaboration for novel seaweed applications

By Ankush Chibber

- Last updated on GMT

New research collaboration for novel seaweed applications
The use of certain seaweeds in commercially viable food products could be a step closer thanks to a research collaboration with a top Australian university and Australian Kelp products, a specialist seaweed products company.

A collaboration agreement was inked between biotechnologists at Flinders University (FU) and Australian Kelp Products (AKP) at the beginning of this month, university researchers said.

Under the agreement, Flinders researchers will trial new processes developed at the university to create products for the food industry as well as the nutraceutical and cosmeceutical industries.

These include marine sugars refined from seaweed that can have applications in anti-viral pharmaceuticals, functional cosmetics, and environmentally friendly agricultural pesticides and fertilizer, they said.

The Flinders-AKP project will work on a biorefinery concept pioneered at FU, and is aimed at enabling the rural manufacturing industry to move up the value chain for greater economic and social benefits.

“Biorefining, through the use of advanced processing technologies, is the missing link in translating bio-resources from the field to commercially viable products that can benefit human health and the environment,” ​FU Professor Wei Zhang said.

The project, which is led by Zhang, is part of the broader SA Premiers’ Science and Research Fund (PSRF) Marine Biotechnology Project. PSFR involves South Australian Research and Development Institute and FU researchers in the developing a marine biotechnology industry in South Australia.

AKP was formed in 2003 to capitalise on the vast seaweed resource that is washed up upon the Limestone Coast. It currently operates a production facility at the Snuggery Industrial Park near Millicent, South Australia.

The company currently harvests seaweeds to make about four products, which includes the first 100 per cent blended seaweed pellet under the StockAid Seabiscuit brand for equestrian and pet use.

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