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Seaweed biorefinery: where are we standing now, and then? – with a focus on the seasonal and spatial trends in biomolecular composition

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearchpeer-review

Seaweed is a previously untapped resource in western world and gaining increasing attention for its potential use as feedstock for biorefinery. In the newly emerging field of seaweed biorefinery, scientific production started in 2010 and has been rising at a fast pace with an annual percentage growth rate of 43.51, as revealed by our science mapping analysis . To analyze the evolution of topics in this research field over time, we conducted co-word analysis through keyword co-occurrence by using the same bibliographic collection but dividing the whole timespan in different time slices. Graphs of co-work networks illustrated that the research interest, which was originally aroused by seaweed’s potential role as the 3rd generation feedstock for biofuel production, appears to shift the focus onto the bioactive molecules that possess unique nutritional and pharmacological properties.
Saccharina latissima is one native Kelp species in North Atlantic and North Pacific. It has received a growing interest due to its potential for high biomass production and rich content in valuable biochemical compounds. Fractioning S. latissima biomass into different constituents and then upgrading the valuable compounds separately to extract products seems economically promising. Among others, alginate, mannitol, fucoidans, laminarin, protein and lipid are top value-added extract products with the potential to improve profitability of all actors in the macroalgal bioeconomy, estimating from their market prices. However, spatial and seasonal variations in the biomolecular composition of S. latissima play crucial roles in determining the quantity and quality of extract products and thus the economic viability of biorefinery.
To obtain a better picture of how and to which degree the seasonal and spatial trends in biomolecular composition influence associated revenues, a systematic review was conducted based on a collection of 34 currently available scientific studies with primary measurements. It is found that the maxima and minima of different components’ content seldom coincide at the same time, though there exist similarities in the seasonal patterns shown by some of them. Therefore, phase II biorefinery (i.e. single raw material is utilized for producing one major product and several co-products) seems to be most applicable for business in practice in pursuit of high revenues from seaweed extracts. Optimization of net revenues of all actors along the value chains can be realized by careful selection of intended application and cultivation site, flexible management of production system regarding harvest time, effective communication between upstream and downstream actors, and broad expansion of sales channels or biorefinery pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year29 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2018
EventSustain 2018: Creating Technology for a Sustainable Society - DTU, Lyngby, Denmark
Duration: 29 Nov 201830 Nov 2018


ConferenceSustain 2018
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Seaweed biorefinery, Bibliometric analysis, Saccharina latissima, Blue economy, farming practices, seasonal and spatial variations

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