This study will assess the commercial viability, optimise growing conditions, and fine-tune the growth system of high-demand edible seaweeds.
A novel terrestrial cultivation method was developed to grow edible seaweeds in a controlled environment. First steps were made to optimise light regime, nutrient delivery, water flow and temperature conditions to obtain high growth of red and green seaweeds. We successfully conducted seven growth trials on three edible, high value seaweeds (Ulva lactuca, U. intestinalis and Palmaria palmata), using a range of light (spectral composition and photoperiod) and temperature regimes to optimise growth rates. We obtained daily average growth rates of 25% (U. lactuca), 14% (U. intestinalis), and 19% (P. palmata) over 7-day growth periods. These are substantially higher than cultivated growth rates reported to date for these species.
Our system provides a modular, efficient system and has the potential to be added to RAS systems. Due to fine-scale control and manipulation of environmental variables it could become a sustainable source of high quality seaweed, optimised in nutrients, free from potential environmental pollutants and free from molluscs and crustaceans, seaweed-associated allergens.
The Cornish Seaweed Company Ltd