PEPPER DULSE: THE TRUFFLE OF THE SEA. INSIGHT IN OSMUNDEA PINNATIFIDA CULTIVATION

C. Biancacci, J. G. Day, G. McDougall, M. C. Russell, M. S. Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

Abstract

Commercial seaweed production is “booming” with an estimated worldwide annual value of US$ 6.4 billion. To meet market demands the sustainable production of algae for human food consumption/high value chemicals is of vital importance for the development of supply chains
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for algal derived products. In Europe, there is a growing demand for seaweed for gourmet foods and low-volume high-value raw materials, primarily for use in the cosmeceutical sector. Currently in Scotland seaweeds are supplied mainly by natural harvesting. Yet, in the near future this will be insufficient to meet the rising demand and has the potential to lead to environmental damage. This project focuses on the supply of Osmundea pinnatifida, commonly called pepper dulse, a red macroalga currently collected from the wild and marketed dried as a peppery seasoning, due to its unique taste. It is mainly used in food preparation and a packet (5 g dry weight) retails at £12. The establishment of pepper dulse cultivation will provide a more consistent and sustainable product, reducing the environmental impact of harvesting wild material. The aim of this project is to improve crop yield and in addition gain an understanding of how to control the cultivation cycles to tailor the colour/texture/taste of the product according to the market’s needs. The impact of cultivation conditions on the biochemical/chemical composition will be assessed, and the study involves scaling up of cultivation to a pilot scale, which will be fundamental for ensuring eventual commercial exploitation. In addition, the project is exploring the possibility of developing robust cryopreservation methods to allow a diverse range of materials to be held as genetic resources for subsequent research on conventional breeding and strain development. This challenging project represents the chance to translate research from the academic field into a commercial reality by researchers and industry working together.
Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Pages (from-to)18-19
Number of pages2
JournalPhycologia
Volume56
Issue number4(Supplement)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

Cite this

Biancacci, C., Day, J. G., McDougall, G., Russell, M. C., & Stanley, M. S. (2017). PEPPER DULSE: THE TRUFFLE OF THE SEA. INSIGHT IN OSMUNDEA PINNATIFIDA CULTIVATION. Phycologia, 56(4(Supplement)), 18-19. [34]. https://doi.org/10.2216/0031