Seaweed: A rich source of vitamins and bioactive compounds

Seaweed: A rich source of vitamins and bioactive compounds

Awareness of the potential health benefits of seaweed – not just for human consumption– is gathering apace, whereby selected seaweed species are now being added to aquaculture and agriculture feed with resulting benefits. One reason for this is that seaweed is a significant source of vitamins and other interesting compounds that have a number of biological functions.

Biological Functions of Vitamins

Kelp Brown

Kelp Seaweed

Vitamins can be divided into those that are either water or fatsoluble. Water-soluble vitamins include both B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. The B-complex vitamins are the largest group and have roles associated with metabolism, muscle tone, cell growth and the nervous system. For example, Nori (Porphyra sp.) and sea lettuce (Ulva sp.) are good sources of vitamin B12 which has an important role in DNA synthesis. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is important for gum health, iron absorption and resistance to infection.

Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamin A, D, E and K. Vitamin A (retinol) plays an important role in bone growth, tooth development, reproduction and cell division. Vitamin D, another fat-soluble vitamin, is important for bone growth and maintenance. Vitamins E and K also have a number of biological functions including antioxidant activity and blood clotting. In addition to their biochemical functions and antioxidant activity, seaweed-derived vitamins have been demonstrated to have other health benefits such as reducing hypertension, preventing cardiovascular disease and reducing the risk of cancer.

Factors Affecting Vitamin Content 

Although seaweed contains both water and fat-soluble vitamins, the vitamin composition of seaweed is variable and depends on a number of factors. For example, evidence exits of seasonal variation in the vitamin content of the seaweed Eisenia arborea, where fat-soluble vitamins follow a different pattern to those that are water-soluble. Another factor affecting seaweed vitamin content is light exposure, as plants growing in bright light can contain higher levels of some vitamins.

Seaweed species is another critical factor which can affect vitamin composition. For example, the level of niacin (vitamin B3) in some brown seaweeds (e.g. Laminaria sp.) is approximately one tenth the level found in the red seaweed, Porphyra tenera. Other factors that can influence vitamin content include geographical location, salinity and sea temperature. Vitamin content can also be affected by processing as both heat and dehydration can have a significant effect on the vitamin levels.

Seaweed-Derived Compounds

In addition to vitamins, seaweed also contains bioactive compounds which have been proven to have antibiotic; antiviral; antimicrobial; mitogenic anti-inflammatory; anti-adhesion; ACE-inhibitory; antioxidant; anticancer and antithrombotic effects. These bioactive compounds include polysaccharides; proteins; amino acids; pigments phenolic compounds and sterols. The levels of these bioactive compounds also depend on factors such as species, geographical location and season.

Incorporating Seaweed into Feed

Ocean Harvest Technology’s fully sustainable feed product ‘OceanFeed™’ is a specially selected, unique blend that harnesses the bioactive compounds and vitamins present in seaweed. OceanFeed™ therefore offers a natural, fully sustainable feed ingredient formula for the aquaculture and animal feed sectors that can replace costly synthetic ingredients.

Researcher working in the OHT Lab

Researcher working in the OHT Lab

by Simon Faulkner

An image of the Facebook logo to link to the Ocean Harvest technology page

Find us on Facebook

 

Twitter Logo with a link to the Ocean Harvest Technology Twitter Page

Follow us on Twitter

 

LinkedIn logo with link to Ocean Harvest Technology LinkedIn page

Find Ocean Harvest Technology

 

 

Advertisements
Seaweed – an untapped source of protein and bioactive compounds for aquaculture

Seaweed – an untapped source of protein and bioactive compounds for aquaculture

Seaweed is fast gaining a reputation as the ideal sustainable food source. Certainly, the nutritional properties of seaweeds are both unique and interesting, with some seaweeds having protein levels as high as 47%. Seaweed, therefore, represents an untapped source of protein and has great future potential.

As the global population continues to rise, the need for sustainable, alternative sources of protein also increases. In fact, it is estimated that the worldwide requirement for food will increase up to 50% by 2030, thus highlighting the absolute need for sustainable development. Recently, Ocean Harvest Technology has worked in collaboration with a number of research institutes to evaluate the use of different seaweeds as a sustainable protein source for aquaculture.

Why Seaweed Protein?

Protein is the most expensive constituent of fish feed whereby global expenditure exceeds €1bn per annum. Fishmeal is a high-protein animal feed used extensively in aquaculture but uses wild fish stocks to feed farmed fish and is an unsustainable feed resource. The ability of fishmeal supply to meet future demand is a massive global concern – especially given that aquaculture production is growing at a rate of nearly 9% per annum.

Image of Ocean Harvest Technology Products

Ocean Harvest Technology Produce

As wild fish stocks decline, the aquaculture industry faces a massive challenge to identify cost-effective and environmentally-friendly alternatives to fishmeal on which it is so heavily reliant. Seaweed protein has the potential to provide a solution to this problem as it is relatively underexploited, contains high amounts of protein and can be cultured in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly manner.

Essential Nutrients

Proteins are an important source of energy, present in all cells and are an essential component of most biochemical processes. Proteins comprise one or more chains of various amino acids, organised in a specific manner that give the protein a specific structure. When ingested, proteins are broken down into amino acids or short chains of amino acids called peptides. These amino acids play key roles in important metabolic pathways associated with maintenance, growth, reproduction, and immunity.

Amino acids can be classified as either essential or non-essential. Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the animal and must be sourced solely from the diet. Most seaweed species contain all of the essential amino acids and are also rich in some nonessential amino acids such as aspartic and glutamic acid.

In general, the protein content of seaweed ranges from 3-47% and considerable differences exist in the protein content of brown, green and red seaweeds. In contrast to brown seaweeds, red seaweeds contain higher levels of protein which can be up to 47% (Porphyra sp.). Brown seaweeds can have protein levels up to around 20% (Alaria esculenta) whereas the levels found in green seaweeds are as high as 29% (Ulva lactuca). Differences in season, species and environment can have a significant impact on the composition of amino acids and protein in seaweeds.

Bioactive Proteins

Seaweed is a natural source of biologically active proteins, amino acids and peptides. Two groups of bioactive proteins – lectins and phycobiliproteins – are present in some seaweed. Lectins are a group of carbohydrate-binding proteins that display anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, anti-HIV and anti-inflammatory biological activity; lectins have been successfully isolated from a number of seaweeds including Eucheuma sp. and Codium fragile.

Harvesting Seaweed to extract protein

Harvesting Seaweed to extract protein

Another group of proteins – phycobiliproteins – exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering and antiviral activities to name but a few and have been isolated from the red seaweed, Palmaria palmata. A number of bioactive amino acids are also present in seaweed. One such example is taurine – a bioactive amino acid required for some biological functions. Other bioactive amino acids present in seaweeds include laminine, kainoids, and mycosporinelike amino acids. These amino acids have a wide range of biological properties including antioxidant, hypotensive, insecticidal, anthelmintic, and neuroexcitatory activity. In addition to bioactive amino acids, some bioactive peptides have been isolated from seaweed. These include carnosine and glutathione both of which are antioxidant peptides that protect cells from damage caused by reactive oxygen species. Another bioactive peptide produced by seaweed is Kahalalide F which is a cyclic depsipeptide with anti-cancer activity and is also active in the treatment of AIDS.

Seaweed Protein in Aquafeed

The functional biological properties of seaweed protein make it an excellent candidate for a natural, sustainable alternative to fishmeal in aquaculture. The capacity for large-scale production of seaweeds in Ireland, together with the high-purity seaweed protein extraction developed by Ocean Harvest Technology further enhances the future potential. The availability of such sustainable protein sources is a prerequisite for our ability to continually produce high-quality and safe products.

An image of the Facebook logo to link to the Ocean Harvest technology page

Find us on FacebookTwitter Logo with a link to the Ocean Harvest Technology Twitter PageFollow us on Twitter

Seaweed biomass cultivation likely to replace finite fossil fuels

Seaweed biomass cultivation likely to replace finite fossil fuels

Total worldwide energy consumption today is roughly 480 exajoules with almost 90% derived from the combustion of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas are limited in supply and will one day be depleted. As a result, the quest for renewable energies – being energies generated from sustainable natural resources such as sunlight, wind, tides, etc and from industrial or urban waste and biomass – began decades ago. In 2007, the 27 member states of the EU decided that 20% of its energy should come from renewable sources by 2020 (Lisbon Treaty).

Image of graph of Global biomass potential v worldwide energy consumptionThe table above shows global energy consumption and its estimated increase by 2050, and the worldwide potential of biomass for energy production based on recent studies. This clearly indicates the need for aquatic biomass to fulfil our energy consumption in a renewable and sustainable way.

At Sea Biomass Production

Since the available area for cultivation at sea is so much greater than on land (70% of the earth’s surface is ocean) and with macroalgae growth rates being much higher than of conventional land crops, the potential for biomass production at sea is enormous. In addition, aquaculture for energy production can avoid the often heated debate surrounding food crops for fuel (food-energy nexus); sustainability; water usage; pesticides and land use change. Equally, fertilisation, which has a major affect on greenhouse gas balances of crops on land, can be altered or even diminished when cultivating in an aquatic environment.

Greenhouse gas emission worldwide using aquatic biomass for energy and fuel is, in most cases, much less, compared to the more conventional biofuels, produced from land-based crops. Seaweed cultivation is a traditional practice in East Asia. A total of 15 million tonnes wet-weight is cultivated per annum, making it the biggest aquaculture venture on the planet. Of all seaweed harvested, 93% is produced from aquaculture.

Seaweed cultivation in Europe is still in a developmental phase with only a few commercial farms in operation, notably in France, Germany and Ireland, where the focus is on small-scale production for high added-value seaweeds. Total combined production of these farms is less than 100 tonnes wet-weight per annum.

Image of Declan Hanniffy checking some seeded ropes on the farm

Declan Hanniffy checking some seeded ropes on the farm

Multi-purpose Usage 

Seaweed is a source of food; food additives and high added-value speciality products such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. It also has huge potential as a biomass source. Therefore, the combination of bio-refinery, with the isolation of valuable seaweed components for high-value products and renewable energy production, will be necessary in future years.

Today, aquatic biomass cultivation is a logistically complex multi-step process onshore and offshore, and is mainly based on small volume production on long ropes and manual harvesting. As a result, production costs per biomass unit are much too high. Urgent research is therefore needed to develop near shore and offshore cultivation in the western world, to produce a sustainable, consistent and cheap feedstock with a high carbohydrate level.

No matter the species, it usually takes significant time to develop into a booming aquaculture industry. With oysters for example, it took almost 30 years. Seaweed too is likely to go through a similarly lengthy developmental process, despite significant breakthroughs such as the biochemical process to convert algal carbohydrate into ethanol. Indeed, several initiatives have already been funded, amongst them the MERMAID and Energetic algae (ENALGAE) projects in Denmark – the latter with Irish participation lead by Dr Maeve Edwards of NUI, Galway.

Seaweed as Feedstock

Another EU project with Irish involvement that is looking at seaweed as feedstock for biofuel production is the € 3.5 million EU funded project, AT~SEA which commenced this month. The project involves partners from The Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, France, Norway, UK and Oceanfuel Ltd from Ireland.

The project will explore high-volume cultivation on large textile substrates, with the aim of reducing production costs, thus making offshore production of biomass a high-potential source for renewable energy. It is generally accepted that Europe’s industries must become more efficient, more environmentally sustainable and more competitive.

With the AT~SEA project we want to implement and realise this objective via a tangible case. Expertise from four sectors: textile; offshore; renewable energy and biotechnology, will be combined to generate new knowledge (textile for offshore use; textile-seaweed interaction), which will be used to develop an innovative technological solution (textilebased offshore production of aquatic biomass) to respond to one of the grand challenges (sustainable and renewable energy supply).

Image of Laminaria hyperborean growing in the intertidal in Ireland

Laminaria hyperborean growing in the intertidal in Ireland

This project will focus mainly on cultivating the native brown seaweed Laminariaceae in North Western European Atlantic waters. These brown algae are known to grow rapidly and produce a high biomass, and to have high carbohydrate content suitable for fermentation into ethanol or furans and could be a sustainable alternative to biofuels and plastics.

Twitter Logo with a link to the Ocean Harvest Technology Twitter Page

Follow us on Twitter

An image of the Facebook logo to link to the Ocean Harvest technology page

Find us on Facebook

Seaweed Protein: Properties and Possibilities in Aquaculture

Seaweed Protein: Properties and Possibilities in Aquaculture

Seaweed is a natural and sustainable ingredient with a lot of different functional biological properties, amongst them protein. Protein are biochemical compounds comprising one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form that facilitate biological functions in the body.

Although the structure and biological properties of seaweed proteins are still poorly documented, the amino acid compositions of several species have been known for a long time. Habitat – and especially seasonal variation – has an effect on proteins, peptides and amino acids in seaweed. The protein fraction of seaweed varies with the species but is generally low in brown seaweed, <15%. Higher protein contents are recorded for green and red seaweed, up to 40%. These levels are comparable to those found in highprotein vegetables such as soybeans.

Essential Amino Acids

Most seaweed species contain all the essential amino acids and are a rich source of the acidic amino acids, aspartic acid and glutamic acid and in general are higher than those found in terrestrial plants.

One bioactive protein present in algae are lectins, which are a structurally diverse group of carbohydrate binding proteins. Marine algal lectins exhibit antibiotic, mitogenic, cytotoxic, anti-nociceptive, anti-inflammatory, antiadhesion and anti-HIV bioactive properties and are currently commercially produced for a variety of purposes.

Peptides are 2-20 amino acid long chains which once a protein is broken down are released and become bioactive and fulfil certain functions in the body. The depsi-peptide kahalalide-F from Bryopsis sp. – a green alga is active in the treatment of lung cancer, tumours and AIDS. Many other bioactive functions have been ascribed to algal peptides. When protein and peptides are broken down to their individual building blocks we have amino acids. The eight essential amino acids (cystine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, tyrosine and valine) cannot be synthesised by animals, nor can they be replaced by other ‘less valuable building blocks.

All essential amino acids are present in brown and red seaweed species; red species feature uniquely high concentrations of taurine – an ingredient found in a well-known energy drink.

Extracting Protein

Ocean Harvest Technology in association with several universities has already embarked on optimising extracting total protein – finding and isolating bioactive peptides for applications in aquaculture and animal feed.

Harvesting Seaweed to extract protein

Harvesting Seaweed to extract protein

Why is this important?

Because a global protein crisis is looming. Currently, about 5 million tonnes of fishmeal is produced and used as feed ingredient in livestock and aquaculture. Virtually all fishmeal is used as a high protein ingredient in feed for farmed land animals and farmed fish. The typical inclusion rate for fishmeal in farm animal diets is 1-5% of dry matter, mainly in specialist diets – e.g. for weaner pigs. A typical farmed salmon diet contains 20-30% fishmeal.

Fishmeal Components

In the ten years to 2002, aquaculture expanded worldwide by more than 9% per annum and since then at a slightly slower rate. While the use of fishmeal will consequently increase – improved efficiency and some substitution means this is likely to be at a slower rate.

Making Pellets from Seaweed Protein

Making Pellets from Seaweed Protein

Nevertheless, fish stocks used for fishmeal are diminishing and prices are rising. A lot of work has taken place on plant protein as replacement; however, often these plant proteins like soya are less suitable for use in aquaculture due to anti-nutritional factors or lower performance. The large fish-feed manufacturers currently purchase more than €1bn in fish protein and oil per year, sourced primarily from South America by harvesting wild fish from around the world.

Two of the biggest financial and environmental costs for these companies and all fish-feed processors are increasing shortage and the spiralling cost of fish protein. It takes 3-4 kg of wild fish (herring, capelin for example) to create 1kg of fish meal. This is a completely unsustainable scenario that has a major negative impact on the ocean environment.

Seaweed Purity

Seaweed protein extracted for example by Ocean Harvest Technology has a high purity, comprising over 80% protein in contrast to fishmeal at about 65%. It is also extremely popular amongst aquaculture feed manufacturers because of its excellent amino acid profile.

When large-scale production of seaweeds starts in earnest (e.g. in Ireland), it most definitely could help alleviate the problem currently experienced with fish meal and plant protein  replacements. Moreover, seaweed protein is derived from a sustainable marine resource and does not have the stigma of being a food crop.

These attributes make seaweed protein an excellent source for use in aquaculture feeds and show great potential for it in the future.

Twitter Logo with a link to the Ocean Harvest Technology Twitter Page

Follow us on Twitter

An image of the Facebook logo to link to the Ocean Harvest technology page

Find us on Facebook

Seaweeds: the answer for the future of global aquaculture feed?

Seaweeds: the answer for the future of global aquaculture feed?

The ever-growing global aquaculture industry currently produces about 50% of all seafood consumed of which 6% represents marine fish farming. Coupled to a steadily rising world population just reaching over 7 billion this year going to 9 billion in 2050 we are heading for some huge problems in respect of feed production in order to sustain and indeed increase aquaculture production. Image of Seaweed on a White backgroundFish meal, a commodity becoming more and more in short supply is becoming rather expensive as a protein source to feed farmed fish and an urgent need for alternative resources other than plant protein sources derived from food crops is needed. Seaweeds with protein values ranging from 10% for certain brown and green algae up to 40% in certain types of red algae might very well be a part of the answer.

With rapidly increasing interest for micro and macroalgae (seaweeds) as a novel feedstock for biofuels and novel platform chemicals for other industries such as the plastic Industry there might be a by-product that is of great interest for the fed aquaculture industry, i.e., protein. This by-product alone would justify the development of a vibrant algae cultivation industry. Besides, algae can contribute other interesting bioactive molecules to the table that could be applied in fed aquaculture to replace certain chemical ingredients such as colorants, preservatives and pre-mixes. One Irish company, Ocean Harvest Technology, based in Milltown has already advanced this concept and trialled different seaweed formula’s on salmon with considerable success resulting in lower FCR’s, higher weight gain and a strong reduction in sea lice.  The final end product (fresh and smoked salmon) has been exhaustively taste -tested by independent panels, retailers, consumers and Michelin Chefs and  received high acceptance for taste and texture, while reducing the environmental impact and increasing the sustainability of the fish. These seaweed fed salmon are currently produced in Canada. With these results in hand the Ocean Harvest Technology team recently finished shrimp trials with similar results and success and also have begun pig trials with an Irish pig research farm. In comparison the salmon feed industry globally produced close in the region of 2.8 million tonnes of feed, the global pig feed industry produces around 128 million tonnes of feed.

However, the focus has shifted and is more and more fixed on alternative protein resources. The Irish company Oceanfuel Ltd has developed a protein extraction process in order to concentrate the carbohydrates. The process is scalable and protein forms basically a by-product in order to produce a carbohydrate slurry for the biofuels industry. Analysis of the amino acid profiles of the protein fraction shows very comparable or better profiles compared to fish meal, with the advantage that seaweed protein is about 90% of the extracted product while fishmeal contains about 60-70% protein. By using seaweeds and seaweed proteins it will help reduce the pressure and reliance on wild fish stock and some other traditional ingredients and will soon play an important role in the feed and food production.

In contrast to microalgae seaweed have been cultivated in large quantities for hundreds of years, mainly in Asia and other tropical areas. This has been done largely for food production although over the last 60 years also to develop the phycolloid industry to produce alginates, carrageenans and agars which are widely used in the food industries as thickeners, binders and stabilizers. According to the latest figures of the FAO about 15.5 million tonnes of seaweeds were cultivated globally (worth about $US 6.5 billion) of which 98% takes place in Asia. Around 10% of the total cultivation is used for the phycolloid industry. Therefore the concept of cultivating seaweeds is not new, but to apply the concept to the western world will be difficult as there is little knowledge and understanding of seaweeds. In contrast, in Japan it is part of the staple diet, with an average of 7-10 grams consumed per day.

Nevertheless with the increasing interest in biofuels and statements by Governments to reduce CO2 levels to 1990 levels while promising that 20% of all EU transport fuels have to come from sustainable biofuels by 2020 will further increase the interest of growing seaweeds for a wide variety of purposes. As labour is horrendously expensive in this part of the world it means that the whole process from seed to harvesting has to be mechanised as much as possible. This will be the ultimate challenge for the next 10 years if we want to make seaweeds an accepted mainstream product being it for fuel, food or other ingredients.

Find us on Twitter or Facebook to ask us about this article.

Twitter Logo with a link to the Ocean Harvest Technology Twitter Page

Follow us on Twitter

An image of the Facebook logo to link to the Ocean Harvest technology page

Find us on Facebook

Seaweeds as a gastronomic food resource in a sustainable and healthy diet

Seaweeds as a gastronomic food resource in a sustainable and healthy diet

Certain seaweeds have a relatively high level of the amino acid L-Glutamate, specifically Laminaria species which are brown seaweeds popularly called kelp or certain red seaweeds like Porphyra commonly called Nori, sloke or laver and which are used as wrapper for sushi. Apparently, our taste buds on the tongue and other regions of the mouth have receptors for this specific amino acid and can detect this amino acid as a specific taste described as meaty or brothy with a long lasting, mouth-watering and coating sensation over the tongue. They refer to this savoury taste as Umami. Umami has a mild but lasting after-taste difficult to describe. It induces salivation and a furriness sensation on the tongue, stimulating the throat, the roof and the back of the mouth.  Umami is one of the five recognized basic tastes together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Umami is a Japanese word invented by Professor Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University in 1908 which means pleasant savoury taste and was made up of two words umai meaning “delicious” and mi meaning “taste”. He found that glutamate was responsible for the Umami taste of the broth from kombu seaweed.

Image of Kombu Seaweed, a type of brown seaweed also known as Kelp

Kombu (Kelp) Seaweed

It took a long time before umami was recognized as a basic taste; but in 1985 at the first Umami International Symposium in Hawaii, the term Umami was officially recognized as the scientific term to describe the taste of glutamates and nucleotides.  Now it is widely accepted as the fifth basic taste. Umami represents the taste of the amino acid L-glutamate and 5’-ribonucleotides such as guanosine monophosphate (GMP) and inosine monophosphate (IMP). Umami has the ability to balance taste and round the total flavour of a dish.

Using glutamate is not new and has a long history in cooking. The best example is the fermented fish sauces (garum), rich in glutamate, in ancient Greek and Roman times. The sauce was generally made through the crushing and fermentation in brine of the innards of various fishes such as mackerel, tuna, eel, and others.

A student of professor Ikeda, Shintaro Kodama, discovered in 1913 that dried bonito flakes (a small kind of Tuna) contained another umami substance. This was the ribonucleotide IMP. In 1957, Akira Kuninaka realized that the ribonucleotide GMP present in shiitake mushrooms also conferred the umami taste. His most important discovery was the synergistic effect between ribonucleotides and glutamate. When foods rich in glutamate are combined with ingredients that have ribonucleotides, the resulting taste intensity is higher than the sum of both ingredients. This synergy of umami provides an explanation for various classical food pairings, starting with why Japanese make dashi with kombu seaweed and dried bonito flakes.

The optimum umami taste depends also on the amount of salt present in the dish. Low-salt foods can maintain a satisfactory taste with the appropriate amount of umami. In fact, low salt soups tasted better when the soup contained umami, whereas low-salt soups without umami were less pleasant. In addition to enhance the deliciousness, umami compounds can to some extent substitute sodium chloride in foods. Thus by integrating seaweed into industrial produced foods and meals, human consumption of salt (sodium chloride) can potentially be decreased with the associated health benefits of doing so.

Why reduce salt intake? Apparently salt intake has become quite a problem in Europe, with Europeans consuming roughly twice the recommended limit of salt each day, causing widespread high blood pressure and placing millions at risk of heart attack and stroke. These conditions cause many deaths and cost billions in healthcare expenses. Only ca. 10% of the sodium in our diets comes from saltshakers, while over 80% is added to foods before they are sold.

Over the last couple of years there was a voluntarily reduction of salt by the food industry in Europe with some successes e.g., in the U.K., where they have already reduced salt in packaged and restaurant foods and managed to implement salt reductions of 40% or more in some food products. If we look at Ireland, salt levels remain high in processed foods as the economic climate means many businesses no longer see reducing levels as a priority. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is disappointed the food industry has lost interest in its voluntary salt reduction programme. Especially in view of that Irish people are still consuming far too much salt.
The recommended daily limit for sodium intake is 2,3 gram for most adults, while we consume closer to 5-6 gram a day. Some food products, such as deli-meat sandwiches, pack more than the recommended daily intake of sodium in one serving. But much of the salt in diets comes from breads, muffins and other foods that don’t taste salty.

Developments in food technology, including alternatives to salt and other sodium-based ingredients, manufacturing and distribution chain processes, and acceptable food safety testing, will all be necessary to ensure further progress, as will rebalancing product flavours to maintain consumer acceptability. This is where the Umami taste from seaweeds could play a major role.

Seaweed is an underutilized food in the Western diet, while it has an important role in Eastern food cultures. Its content of umami compounds and a beneficial nutritional composition have great potential to become part of a healthy, tasty and sustainable diet, while able to replace salt in many processed food products. Marketing of seaweeds and implementation of these in our food culture will not only contribute to a healthy and well tasting diet based on local ingredients, but also support a sustainable food production and increase business opportunities for local seaweed farmers and food industries. Creating foods and meals with seaweeds that appeal to the consumers require gastronomic innovation at all levels of the food sector, from high-end restaurants to the food industry. The success of seaweed as a new food resource also requires an increased awareness of the consumers on the qualities of consuming seaweeds and how to use seaweed products in cooking. Ocean Harvest Technology Ltd has developed several salt replacement and taste enhancing mixtures that can be taken on board by food product developers and the food industry and create a whole new market for novel food products while reducing salt levels in the diet.

An image of the Facebook logo to link to the Ocean Harvest technology page

Find us on Facebook

Twitter Logo with a link to the Ocean Harvest Technology Twitter Page

Follow us on Twitter

Salmon Feed Breakthrough for Ocean Harvest Technology

Salmon Feed Breakthrough for Ocean Harvest Technology

Ocean Harvest Technology, based in Galway on the Atlantic coast of Ireland is about to start commercial production of a new salmon feed ingredient that could revolutionise the €6 Billion global salmon farming industry.

The Ocean Harvest Technology Logo

The industry has been beset by concerns over environmental impact, animal welfare and food safety concerns but all of those issues will be addressed by OceanFeed™, a wholly sustainable, seaweed-based salmon feed ingredient that not only replaces all synthetic chemical additives and colorants currently used in salmon fish feed – but also has been shown to significantly improve the health environment in which the fish are reared.

OceanFeed™ is a macro algae-based ingredient which is 100 per cent natural and wholly sustainable within the ocean environment.

Recently completed European sea trials with EWOS in Scotland have shown that the thousands of fish used in the trial have been healthier and displayed better weight gain, taste and appearance results when compared to fish fed on the current market leading feed.

Astaxanthin levels in fish fed on the OceanFeed diet were only 20 per cent of those in the control diet fed fish while OceanFeed™contained higher levels of natural pigments, notably Lutein, and of Omega 3 PUFA’s.

The feed ingredients are designed to reduce stress, enhance the immune system and minimize autoimmune problems, At the same time, the fish eating OceanFeed™ have significantly improved flesh quality and flavour — the ‘taste of the sea’ compared to a control test group.

The feed reduces many of the environmental issues associated with current aquaculture practices. Many of these have related to the use of synthetic, petroleum-based additives that represent about 20 per cent of the cost and 15 per cent of the weight of farmed salmon fish feed.

The market for additives used in the manufacture of salmon feed was worth more than US$615 million in 2007.

OceanFeed™ is the first commercial product to emerge from several years’ worth of research and development into the application of macro-algae and seaweed based products conducted by the team at Ocean Harvest Technology.

Twitter Logo with a link to the Ocean Harvest Technology Twitter Page

Follow us on Twitter

An image of the Facebook logo to link to the Ocean Harvest technology page

Find us on Facebook