Biotechnological valorization of Azorean macroalgae with commercial interest

Project name: Biotechnological valorization of Azorean macroalgae with commercial interest

Duration: 36 months

Framework:

seaExpert, based in Faial island since 2003, is a fisheries consulting company involved in several areas related to ocean natural resources. In 2012, seaExpert started a new business branch based on seaweeds manually harvested for nutraceutical, cosmeceutical and similar industries. Over the years, the company developed an exceptional and exquisite product certified by the “Marca Azores” brand and the “European Organic Certification”, being recognized for the adoption of responsible and sustainable practices and for ensuring a minimum impact on the Azores marine ecosystem. Currently, seaExpert focus on 8 species of seaweeds: Asparagopsis armata, Asparagopsis taxiformis, Pterocladiella capillacea, Cystoseira humilis, Halopteris scoparia, Sargassum vulgare, Treptacantha abies-marina and Zonaria tournefortii.

seaExpert’s vast experience and skills are a great asset to successfully carry out the seaweeds’ sustainable harvest and processing. However, few studies have been carried out on the multifunctional rich contents of autochthonous seaweeds from the Azores region. Being regarded as a source of molecules and bioactive substances for human health, seaweed-derived products are becoming preferential worldwide when it comes to supply nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, biotechnological and cosmeceutical industries.

This project aims to deepen our knowledge about the seaweed species supplied by seaExpert, thus improving its commercial value.

 

Main goal: To fully characterize the Azorean seaweeds supplied by seaExpert company, unveiling the strategies to better preserve their biochemical properties after harvest, while bioprospecting for seaweed natural compounds with potential use in biotechnology, cosmetics, among other industries.

 

Specific goals: 

– to perform a taxonomic identification of the main Azorean seaweeds supplied by seaExpert through DNA barcoding;
– to share the genetic information of the studied Azorean seaweeds in public databases (NCBI, BOLD, etc.);
– to use different post-harvesting methods in order to identify which strategies will better preserve the seaweeds’ biochemical properties;
– to characterize the chemical profiles of the seaweed species supplied by seaExpert;
– to create technical data sheets (TDS) for each one of the seaweed species supplied by seaExpert;
– to bioprospect for antioxidant and other seaweed bioactivities of interest to several industries;
– to share/publish the project results in regional, national and international scientific meetings/papers.