A forest of gold exists just below the ocean surface. The seaweed forest is as important to the climate as forests on land and works as a hiding place for both small fish and animals. Most consumers eat or use seaweed products daily, as seaweed contains essential natural products that are used in everything from medicine and food to cosmetics, industry, agriculture and animal feed. Proteins from seaweed can replace the use of Norwegian-produced grains and imports of soy protein in feed, and products from seaweed are even used in 3D printing of organs.
Around 500 different types of macroalgae have been identified and divided into three groups; green algae, red algae and brown algae. Alginor’s focus is on one species of seaweed, specifically the brown algae Laminaria hyperborea (Lh).
Seaweed are among the largest renewable resources. Lh has a standing biomass of about 60 million tonnes along the Norwegian coast alone, with a total biomass of 100 million tonnes beyond the Arctic circle. Lh thrives best in cold, nutritious marine areas and is therefore unique to the area around the polar circle. The raw material has a completely unique biochemical composition and utilised properly it has an incredible value. As an example, fucoidan, an ingredient derived from Lh, has the highest known degree of sulphation among all seaweed species. Also, the alginate content from Lh is of unique quality due to the harsh weather conditions with strong waves.
Reports show that by 2050 food production should increase by 70 % to keep up with population increase and economic growth, and food from agriculture will most likely not be able to meet this demand alone. Seaweeds are among the largest untapped resources in the world, and with the Bellona Foundation on our team Alginor wants to delve into the ocean depth and harvest gold from the seaweed forest through a sustainable, environmentally friendly and resource efficient approach.