DTU Food, Denmark
Title: Protein extraction from seaweed in industrial scale
Biography: Alireza Naseri
The global demand for protein is increasing and is expected to escalate further in the coming decades - mostly due to population growth, which must be matched by increased food production. There is a good reason to develop new technologies for the industrial extraction of proteins from seaweed since some species of seaweed have an interesting amino acid profile close to that of animal protein (high amino acid score). The global carrageenan production was 60,000 ton with a value of US$ 626 million in 2014. From this, it can be estimated that the total dried seaweed consumption for this production was at least 300,000 ton/year. The protein content of these types of seaweed is 5–25%. If just half of this total amount of protein could be extracted, 18,000 ton/year of a new high-value protein product would be obtained. The main focus of this study was on Eucheuma denticulatum (spinosum) as main seaweed used in carrageenan production and on Palmaria palmata as industrial red seaweed with high protein content. The overall aim of this study was to develop new technologies that make it possible to increase the sustainability of carrageenan production by further utilization of the red seaweed raw materials, as a source for other high-value bio products. Different mechanical, chemical and enzymatic approaches were evaluated in laboratory scale and the most promising were optimized and tested on a larger scale. The results showed that by using the new multi-extraction process (submitted patent), it is possible to extract up to 90% of total protein. The amino acid composition of the protein is similar to animal proteins and the total amount of Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) is higher than other sources. Further work will be carried out in order to improve properties such as color, solubility and taste.