Halogenated compounds in seaweeds – A new market opportunity for the UK seaweed industry (FS109)

Aim:

This project aims to develop a novel seaweed-based animal feed product, to suppress methane emissions in cattle.

Funding Amount:

£49,552

Duration of Project:

3 months

Project Summary:

Seaweed aquaculture has the potential to make an increasingly important contribution to our blue economy. It exploits the sea’s resources in a sustainable and climate-friendly way to generate new sources of economic activity in coastal communities. There is growing interest in seaweeds as a resource for multiple uses including nutrient-rich food, pharmaceutical compounds, bioplastics, biofuels, and animal feed additives. 

Even with a diversity of uses, commercial success in European seaweed aquaculture has been limited by knowledge gaps, high production costs and under-developed markets.  This project will begin to develop a novel market and supply chain for UK-grown seaweed.  Recently scientists have shown that some seaweeds can reduce methane emissions in cattle and sheep by up to 90%. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and emissions from UK cattle alone represents 33% of all emissions in the UK.  With growing pressures for climate-friendly food production, seaweed-based animal feeds could become an important new market for seaweed producers. With over 9M cattle in the UK, this would require a step-change in the amount of seaweed that is currently produced.

This project will undertake early-stage development of a novel seaweed-based animal feed product. Seaweeds that grow in the UK will be collected and screened to identify species with the potential for methane suppression. This will underpin the development of a new product which will create a significant market pull for the UK’s seaweed industry, reducing the risk of scaling up production and stimulating growth in the sector.

STATUS: Ongoing

Project Lead

SAC Commercial Ltd