Seafood aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production sectors, and there is a growing demand for organic farmed aquaculture products in many countries. Therefore, it is urgent to find alternative sustainable feed ingredients for aquaculture feeds to address these issues. A widely available but underutilised Nordic bio-resource is macroalgae (seaweed). Traditionally, macroalgae have been used for many years in the feed and food industry as binders (hydrocolloids extracts) and macroalgae can also be used as partial replacement in food and feed products, as proteins, oils, vitamin & mineral mixes, antibiotics, antioxidants, and colorants.
A predictable and sustainable supply of macroalgae can only be obtained through cultivation at sea. Macroalgal cultivation activities will take place and create jobs in rural and coastal areas. Cultivation, harvesting and biomass treatment are critical and very important component in scaling the discoveries up to industrialization (i.e. economic of scale). The Faroe Islands as an excellent place for macroalgal cultivation as some of the highest harvesting yield known in Europe are demonstrated there. Ocean Rainforest (ORF)has developed and tested a Macro Algae Cultivation Rig (MACR) that has proven to be scalable, easy to handle and harvest from, and has commercial potential. Although the company (ORF) have demonstrated excellent results in the upstream processes of the supply chain, the downstream processes are underdeveloped, especially with respect to pre-treatment methods in the Faroe Islands of the biomass before shipment for further processing abroad. There is a need for process innovation in terms of developing cost effective and energy efficient methods for ensuring storage stability, so they can fit product functionalities in secondary processing for food, feed and the fertilizer market.
MACROPRO will address these challenges and come up with concrete solutions for improving the primary processing of the biomass through state of the art data collection and analysis, method development for storing and extraction processes, and market tests together with commercial end-users.
MACROPRO will also interact with the secondary processing and related product innovation within the pre- and pro-biotic food and feed market and utilise the liquid side stream product from the storage stabling process for the organic fruit and vegetable fertilizer market.
Based on the data analysis of the harvested and processed biomass and feed-back from market user tests MACROPRO will analyse the value chain with respect to operational and capital expenditures, revenue and potential return of an investment in a commercial scale production.
In this way, the project will add new knowledge that is pivotal for commercial utilization and the overall effort to improve macroalgal cultivation and processing in the Faroe Islands for the international food and feed market.
The MacroPro project is funded by Research Council Faroe Islands