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

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Valentine’s Day at Ocean Harvest Technology!!

Valentine’s Day at Ocean Harvest Technology!!

We try not to take ourselves too seriously here at Ocean Harvest so we decided to have some fun with some of the Kelp which we had drying on our floor today. Have a look at the photos and tell us what you make of our heart! Happy Valentines Day everyone.

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Our two Laura’s and Toine working hard!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Aquaculture Breakthrough in Shrimp Farming

Aquaculture Breakthrough in Shrimp Farming

The black tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon, is a marine crustacean widely reared for food in Asia and is often the one that ends up on your restaurant plate.

Image of a Black Tiger Shrimp on a persons hand

Black Tiger Prawn

At approximately 36 centimetres in length and weighing up to 650 grams this is the world’s largest species of prawn. P. monodon is also the most widely cultured prawn species in the world, although it is gradually losing ground to the whiteleg shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei. Over 900,000 tonnes are consumed annually, worth about $US 5 billion, two thirds of which is farmed. Frozen head-on, head-off, and peeled shrimp used to be the major export products to the main markets in the USA, EU and Japan. In financial value, Penaeus monodon is the most important traded aquaculture commodity in Asia.

Disease Issues

Being the case with every type of monoculture, major disease problems are always a threat, either from viral Whitespote Disease (WSD) and Yellowhead Disease (YHV) or bacterial Vibrio campbellii .

No chemicals or drugs are yet available to treat such viral infections. Nevertheless, through good management of pond, water and feed, together with close monitoring of the health status of stock inputs, the impact of disease can be greatly reduced.

Outbreaks of the most serious virus disease nearly always occur following dramatic changes in parameters such as water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and water hardness. In some cases, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals have been used to treat these viruses but their usage comes with a high price and with little success.

Solution

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Ocean Harvest Technology Produce

Oceanfeed™-shrimp is the first marine natural and sustainable functional feed ingredient derived from macroalgae. Unique blending and processing guarantees that all bioactive ingredients are present in the final end product and can replace the  mineral and vitamin premix. A number of reports in the literature have shown some degree of success in improving the clinical outcome of shrimp in viral and bacterial challenges by administering immunostimulants and algal extracts.*

When supplemented to the diet, fucoidan – a seaweed component -partially protected shrimp from White Spot Syndrom Virus (WSSV) infection **. Oceanfeed™- shrimp contains a plethora of natural bioactive compounds which, when incorporated into the diet, can modulate several functions and assist in the control of chronic diseases and viral infections in farmed shrimp. It also allows for diseasefree farmed shrimp to be reared in a more natural and sustainable way, thus easing concerns about environmental impact and sustainability.

Trial Results

OHT recently finalised trials using Penaeus monodon with the objective of researching the effects of Oceanfeed™-shrimp on growth, FCR, and viral and bacterial diseases. Tests were also done to assess the improvement of the clinical outcome of

 shrimp challenged with WSSV and Vibrio after feeding on a diet supplemented with Oceanfeed™-Shrimp. Growth tests were performed by CreveTec- AFT Research Center in biofloc recirculation systems. Challenge tests were performed by the Shrimp Research Group of the University of Ghent in Belgium.

Four different diets (with identical protein and lipid levels) were tested, incorporating 5 and 10% inclusions of Oceanfeed™- Shrimp and two diets with yeast included. Results after the two-month trials showed that inclusion of 10% of Oceanfeed™-shrimp (OF10-shrimp) without the addition of yeast was the best diet of the four tested diets and was able to replace the mineral vitamin premix. Moreover, shrimp fed with 10% inclusion of OF-shrimp were 2.8% heavier than reference shrimp fed with the standard reference diet at the end of the trial. This would translate into a 2.8 tonne increased yield per 100 tonnes of shrimp. The Feed Conversion Ratio (corrected for mortalities) was 0.08 better with 10% inclusion of OF-shrimp. This is 8 tonnes of feed per 100 tonnes of shrimp that would be saved. Mortalities also improved on the OF10 feed by 1.67%. This is 1.67 tonnes shrimp per 100 tonnes. There was a strong effect in the OF10 diet when challenged with Whitespot Viral Disease and the bacterial disease Vibrio with a 40% and 20% lower mortality respectively compared to the control diet.

At the end of the trial, non-challenged shrimp were tasted by a large UK seafood retailer. The trials showed that OF10 shrimp were significantly better in taste and texture than reference diet shrimp.

Global Issues

In 1810 the world population was approximately 1 billion; today, the figure is upwards of 7 billion, and by 2050 it is expected to top 9 billion. Food is therefore going to be incredibly important!

Currently food production is primarily land-based, despite the fact that 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans. That leaves roughly 26% of the earth to support human life, animal life, vegetative life and agricultural production. It is estimated that less than 3% of the earth’s surface is being utilised as arable land. The green revolution has made 3% of the planet incredibly productive. But can it grow? Even more importantly, is it sustainable? The platform (food production) may not be burning, yet, but it is getting quite crowded. What if 10% of the ocean could be used to grow seafood? Shrimp farming will no doubt form a large part of this seafood production.

We are at the cross roads of a blue revolution, and Ocean Harvest Technology has developed feed ingredients from macroalgae to help develop this in a more sustainable way and to lessen the need and dependency on chemicals and additives. A perfect example is the effects of Oceanfeed™-shrimp in shrimp farming.

*(Itami et al., 1998; Takahashi et al., 2000; Chang et al., 2003)

** (Chotigeat et al., 2004)

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Seaweed Extracts: Benefits and Functions

Over the last decade a lot of hype has prevailed about seaweed extracts, resulting in the epiphany of a certain face cream retailing at US$250 for a mere few ounces. Unfortunately the economic climate has now changed, and products have to earn their mark or have at least some proper scientific evidence behind them. Nevertheless, seaweed extracts have been used in Ireland for a long time; popular folklore and anecdotal information tells us that these extracts are beneficial for all kinds of ailments.

Multi-Functional

Image of Carrageen Moss, otherwise known as Irish Moss

Carrageen (Irish Moss)

Most famous of all is Chondrus crispus or Irish moss, also known as carrageen. Carrageen is popular as a cold remedy and is used as a thickener for desserts, soups and sauces and used as extract for skin treatment. It is only in the last couple of years that the function of this cold remedy has been understood; the carrageenans are able to reduce the rhinovirus growth and inhibit the effects and replication of the virus. The human rhinovirus family is the cause of about half the cases of common cold.

Other examples are kelp extracts such as Laminaria digitata which are applied to lessen the effects of arthritis and rheumatism. In this case it is the high concentrations of iodine that are taken up through the skin and work as an anti-inflammatory. Studies at University College Dublin have demonstrated that iodine is also taken up by the body in seaweed baths. The most-used application of seaweed extracts however is most definitely in agriculture and hydroponics. For centuries farmers have been using seaweed to fertilize the soil; it was a logical step to start making extract from the seaweeds for their beneficial properties in a concentrated form.

The many growth hormones (e.g. gibberlins, auxins); osmoregulators (betaines) minerals, soil improvers etc found in these extracts provide a range of beneficial actions, such as a resistance to freezing and drought in plants, stress nematodes, worms and fungi.

Cosmetic Component

Over the last two decades, the use of seaweed extracts in cosmetics has taken flight, with the French leading the way, although nowadays seaweed-containing cosmetics exist everywhere and products are known from Japan to Ireland.

Several seaweed species are commonly used in the preparation of body-care products: the red algae Chondrus crispus (anti-gingivitis and anti-scarring activity); and Palmaria palmata (antiperspirant activity); species of the brown alga Laminaria (rich in iodine which boosts metabolism); the coralline algae Lithothamnion (rich in calcium carbonates and trace elements); species of the brown algae Fucus (heparin-like activity and antiseborrhoeic effect on greasy hair) and Ascophyllum nodosum (slimming action, shampoos and shower gels.

That seaweed and seaweed extracts are good for the skin is beyond dispute, according to cosmeticians and beauticians. Mainly based on anecdotal information, one can only assume that alginates, carrageenans and agars, found in large quantities in many seaweeds have a beneficial effect in combination with warm seawater; however, it is probable that there are other constituents of seaweeds that have restorative powers.

Research in the last 10 years sheds light on this, and good scientific evidence has been appearing over the years. The Japanese scientist Fujimora discovered that extracts from Fucus (bladder wrack) promotes the contraction of fibroblast-populated collagen gels through increased expression of integrin molecules.

A gel formulation that included 1% of the extract was applied topically to human cheek skin twice daily for five weeks. A significant decrease in skin thickness measured by B-mode ultrasound resulted. There was also a noticeable improvement in skin elasticity. In cheek skin, the thickness normally increases and the elasticity usually decreases with age. These results suggest that the Fucus vesiculosus extract possesses anti-aging activities and should be useful for a variety of cosmetics.

It was demonstrated that these effects were caused by the fucoidan fraction of the extract. Using tissue sections of human skin in ex vivo experiments the French researcher, Karim Senni demonstrated that fucoidan could minimize human leukocyte elastase (serine proteinase) activity resulting in the protection of human skin elastic fibre network against the enzymatic proteolysis. Others have demonstrated anti-UV properties and antioxidant activity when applied to the skin.

In short, there is merit in using these extracts in cosmetics although it depends on the species used, concentrations applied and scientific evidence obtained.

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Ocean Harvest Technology has already begun using tailor-made organically-produced seaweed products to make a variety of extracts for the aquaculture and other industries. With several seaweed experts on the staff and our in-house knowledge of the variety of species in Ireland and their bioactive molecules, Ocean Harvest Technology is ideally positioned to produce these extracts for use in a variety of applications.

For more information on our seaweed powders and extracts go to http://www.oceanharvest.ie

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