Research grant from FORMAS for project on Ulva cultivation and breeding

4 Million SEK to develop Ulva as a sustainable future resource

I am happy to receive 4 Mil. SEK from this year´s FORMAS research call for early-career researchers for the project “A manual for the use of sustainable marine resources – Definition of the cultivation potential and commercially relevant compounds of sea lettuces (Ulva spp.) along the Swedish coastline”.

This project will generate a manual for the use of sea lettuces as sustainable marine resource. I will define the cultivation potential and commercially relevant compounds of Sea Lettuces (Ulva) along the Swedish coastline and therewith support the growing Blue Economy.

Our world is in need of sustainable and renewable resources that do not rely on fossil fuels! Sea Lettuces, or the genus Ulva, are economically and ecologically important green algae with a growing potential in seaweed aquaculture due to their high productivity, wide environmental tolerance as well as suitable nutritional properties. Even though they are obtaining a rising interest from the European aquaculture sector, knowledge of their taxonomy, species diversity and thus species depending properties is still sparse. Their high morphological variability largely hampers species identification by classical morphological characters. Until now, the Scandinavian species diversity remains unknown and species depending differences in high value compounds (e.g. proteins, fatty acids, carbohydrates) have never been investigated in detail. With molecular techniques we will assess how species and population specific differences can be used to generate economically and ecologically important crop strains

Information on the selection of best performing crop strains within the highly applicable sea lettuces is crucial for the rapidly emerging Scandinavian seaweed aquaculture industry. By investing species and population depending traits and assess how differences in high value compounds vary under changing cultivation conditions we will facilitate strain selection of highly productive aquaculture strains. All results will be communicated with authorities, databases and commercial partners to ensure a strong societal impact of this research which can clearly contribute to a more sustainable future blue economy.

Read more about the funded project at the University of Gothenburg´s webpage.

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