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Establishing a Joint UK-NZ Partnership in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy – Exploiting Algae and marine biomass for IBBE

Project: Other

Description

With the strong development of functional foods as a method to improve or maintain health, the exploration of new compounds with real health effects is now an intense field of research. Algae are a potential source of bioactive compounds to be used in the food and pharmaceutical industries (e.g. lipids, proteins, terpenoids, carotenoids).

However, many processes need to be optimised; for instance, biomass production (through the design of new and more efficient photobioreactors), bioactives recovery (through the optimisation of downstream operations such as harvesting and extraction) and the further process of the residual biomass to produce bulk chemicals and biofuels. However, to be able to go in this direction, more investment is needed in multidisciplinary teams involving scientists with expertise in phycology, molecular biology, agronomy, chemical engineering, food science and technology, environmental chemistry, etc., able to face the multiple challenges that these new approaches will present.

The proposed workshop focuses on a deeper understanding of the bottlenecks in producing polysaccharides, other bioactives and functional food ingredients from marine biomass. We want to identify the challenges in characterisation, production and commercialisation with the aim of generating project ideas to overcome yield-restricting bottlenecks in this process.

Layman's description

The workshop brought together algal researchers and industry representatives from New Zealand and UK to discuss progress and opportunities in the exploitation of microalgae, particularly as feedstock for aquaculture and as sustainable sources of novel bio-products.

The UK delegation included six leading academics, together with representatives of four SMEs from the algal biotech sector: namely, Varicon Aqua, TeeGene Ltd, Greenskill Ltd. and Algenuity. Approximate 20 NZ delegates joined the workshop and comprised algal researchers from the Cawthron Institute, several NZ universities, and biotech companies in the Nelson region. We were also honoured to be joined by Min Sung Park, a world authority on algal biotechnology and Distinguished Professor at the Centre for Microalgal
Biotechnology and Biofuels, Institute of Hydrobiology, Wuhan, China.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date14/08/1717/08/17

Collaborative partners

  • University of Portsmouth
  • Teesside University
  • TeeGene Biotech Ltd
  • University College London (lead)
  • University of Sheffield
  • Cawthron Institute
  • Scottish Association for Marine Science
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Edinburgh
  • BBSRC-CBMNet (Crossing Biological Membrane Network)
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Relations

ID: 11971824