SeaMark Products

SeaMark will develop 12 products and prototypes to TRL 7 or above over four years in a cascading biorefinery approach. Products span the entire value chain, comprising feed additives, food ingredients, health supplements, bioplastics and biomedical devices.

P1: Bioactive Beta-glucan

For nutraceuticals and cosmetics

Beta-glucans are a family of glucose polymers with a range of molecular structures and bioactivities. Beta-glucan from seaweed is a low molecular weight soluble product with prebiotic and immunomodulatory activity. Beta-glucans have value in skincare for skin protection and barrier function as well as in nutraceuticals. For both applications, validated health claims are critical for future market potential.

* flagship product

P2: Bioactive Fucoidan

For nutraceuticals and cosmetics

Fucoidan is a family of sulphated polysaccharides uniquely available from brown seaweed (kelp) with a range anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic bioactivities (Fitton et al., 2019; Hreggvidsson et al., 2020). These traits may deliver anti-aging benefits and help to manage atopic skin conditions. Fucoidan’s value as a nutraceutical supplement will be further developed in SeaMark. Validation of health claims is key to unlocking the future growth of the fucoidan market and taking the product to TRL 8. Fucoidans from selected brown seaweed species already have novel foods and GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) approval, which will accelerate approval of fucoidan from sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima).

P3: Bio-materials

For bio-packaging and textiles

Oceanium has demonstrated experimental proof of feasibility to convert seaweed-derived compounds into bio-packaging materials: home-compostable film, board, and thermoplastic pellets. Oceanium is currently further developing these materials and processes to TRL 5/6 through Innovate UK funding. As production scale develops, Oceanium will produce powdered or pelleted bio-packaging material from kelp which will be sold to packaging converters to be used as home-compostable packaging products.

P4: Fibre and protein for food

For food

Oceanium biorefinery produces fibre and protein ingredient products using food-safety accredited production processes. Both products are produced as dried powders suitable for formulation in a range of food products. Seaweed fibre is a texturising ingredient used in food for its water binding and gel forming properties. The product fits into the well-established fibre market, providing a sustainable and clean label alternative to terrestrial fibre products and to existing E-number products. Oceanium has received preliminary feedback from the UK Food Standards Agency stating that novel foods approval is not required for seaweed fibre. Consequently, this product will reach TRL 8 by the end of the project. Seaweed protein is in development as a sustainable plant-based protein ingredient under high-demand because of the rapid growth of plant-based diets. Oceanium’s seaweed products offer amino acid composition and digestibility that compare favourably with established terrestrial plant proteins. In contrast to seaweed fibre, seaweed protein will require novel foods approval as it is new to the market. Therefore, this product will reach TRL 7 by the end of the project.

P5: Co-fermented seaweed-rapeseed pig feed additive

For animal feed

Fermentation Experts already commercialise fermented rapeseed for sows and in weaner pig production. In the MacroCascade project, Fermentation Experts developed the EP199 product which contains co-fermented rapeseed meal and seaweed. For the past 10 years, around 50 Danish farmers have fed their sows with this product. After 9 months, preliminary data from these farms show a better feed conversion, a better utilization of protein from the feed (5% less usage of protein in average) and a higher piglet weaning weight (approx. 8.2 %). The expected combined effect of fermented seaweed and rapeseed meal generates several bioactive compounds contributing to diversifying gut microbiome, strengthening of the gut barrier, and increasing sow wellbeing. SeaMark will demonstrate and document the beneficial effect on production and health parameters in the largest conducted pig trial to date.

* flagship product

P6: Co-fermented seaweed-rapeseed meat replacer

For human food and meat alternatives

Fermentation Experts have developed industrial fermented rapeseed meal and seaweed products for food, which has a beneficial effect on human health (MacroCascade). The products consist of potential prebiotic fibres, lactic acid bacteria, and bioactive metabolites that have putative antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory effects. Microbiome analysis of large in vivo pig trials have shown positive modulation of the gut microbiome, with higher abundance of beneficial bacteria such as Faecalibacterium prauznitzii, enhancing production of butyrate. By increasing the amount of seaweed in the fermented product, SeaMark will increase the number of prebiotic fibres and bioactives. Furthermore, a set of descriptors will be developed in order to optimize the amount of seaweed that can safely be added to foods.

P7: “Green” alginate

For food texturisation

Alginates represent a wide family of polysaccharides with polymers of mannuronic and guluronic acids. Alginates are extracted from brown seaweed and several decades ago these compounds demonstrated texturising applications based on specific properties that enable these versatile compounds to increase viscosity and create strong gels. The alginate M/G ratio, the molecular weight, the calcium content and the pH/cation content of the extract will provide a wide range of texture and gel properties. Alginates are mainly used in the food sector for replacing fats, salt excess and carbohydrates. They can also be used to create biofilms, capsules, fibers for textiles and plasters, dental molds, and to stabilise pigments and gels. Depending on the targeted application, the market value of alginates can span from €10 to €80 per kg. Demand for low chemical extracted alginate is increasing, especially for cosmetic usage. In the SeaMark project, Algolesko will supply fresh S. latissima from their production lines and Algaia will produce and characterise “green” alginates (i.e. applying a more eco-friendly extraction process) with support from Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU) to reach TRL8.

* flagship product

P8: “Designer” alginate

For cosmetic and medical devices

There is a significant demand for alginates with a high ratio of guluronic acid for applications in medical devices and cosmetics, the two higher value markets for this polysaccharide. There are a limited number of species that are able to generate this type of alginate. Those species usually come from wild harvest and cannot be scaled up sustainably. It is also challenging to identify, isolate, and produce these enzymes with sufficient degree of purity. In SeaMark, Algaia will produce several kilograms of high guluronic alginates from sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) at pilot scale, with gamechanging potential for the industry.

P9: Fucoidan extracts

For animal feed

Fucoidan has been demonstrated to stimulate mammalian immune systems, which makes it highly attractive as a feed additive. However, market development has been limited to date due to poor standardisation in the production and purification processes, as well as source inconsistency. SeaMark aims to improve extraction yields and standardise fraction production using an enzymatic approach in order to enhance the use of fucoidan for feed applications. The product is a fucose-rich polysaccharide. The higher the fucose content, the higher the market value, as this correlates with immunostimulant activities. SeaMark aims to co-extract fucoidans from cultivated S. latissima. Enzymatic treatment aims to increase fucose content, thus improving bioactivity in the feed market at significantly lower cost.

P10: Mineral concentrates

For food, feed & cosmetics

Mineral concentrates can be integrated in drink mixes, sport supplements, bars, sauces or ready-to-eat foods with an enriched nutritional profile. Sea lettuce (Ulva sp.) has validated claims as a source of iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iodine. The total mineral fraction in sea lettuces is constant over time, independent of the cultivation protocols or season (results from continuous trials of 2 years). The mineral concentrates can also be used for cosmetics and as a functional additive for animal feed at an inclusion rate of 0.5-2%. Minerals compose on average about one third of the dry weight of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) providing dietary minerals including potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, and copper. These will be selectively recovered from wastewater to create mineral concentrates suitable for use in agricultural feed ingredients.

P11: Ulva protein

For food & feed

Seaweed protein can be extracted as a vegetable source for plant-based food and feed products. Many seaweed species have a low protein content, but sea lettuce (Ulva sp.) has demonstrated a protein content of more than 20%. The SeaMark partners will further develop and demonstrate pilot-scale co-extraction of proteins, minerals & ulvans to be characterised and validated for commercial exploitation.

P12: Bioactive Oligosaccharides

For nutraceuticals & medical devices

Oligosaccharides derived from sea lettuces (Ulva sp.) and sugar kelp (S. latissima) have great potential as a source of bioactives with numerous health promoting effects. Today, the processing of oligosaccharides from polysaccharides is a lengthy procedure that could be replaced by more cost-effective production from a natural source like seaweed, via fractionation, separation and purification. The Ulva-based oligosaccharides produced in SeaMark will be sold to end-users in the nutraceuticals and medical sectors. The laminarin-, fucoidan- and alginate-rich fractions from S. latissima will be used to produce bioactive oligosaccharides. Biological activities reported for alginate oligosaccharides include antioxidants, plant promotors  and antitumor agents. Laminarin-rich fractions bring various health benefits (immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory activity) to humans and are of significant interest as pharmaceuticals or medical devices. Ulvan and ulvan oligosaccharides have several potentially valuable biological properties in human healthcare like anticoagulant, antioxidant, antihyperlipidemic and antitumoral activities. Ulvan can also be used for digestive health and biomedical applications, with special emphasis in tissue engineering and cosmetics.