Making Flip-flops out of Algae at UCSD

 Seagriculture EU 2024

Elizabeth McCauley of reports on a group of scientists who are making flip-flops out of algae. Researchers say the footwear is 100% biodegradable and could reduce plastic pollution.

Stephen Mayfield, Director, California Center for Algae Biotechnology and Founder of Algenesis Materials heads the team at UC San Diego that has turned algae and plants into these newly designed, fashionable,100% biodegradable flip-flops. He says the sandals aren’t yet available in stores, but his researchers have founded a startup to make that happen. They hope this development will add to a future of eco-conscious clothing.

The research was a collaboration between UC San Diego and startup company Algenesis Materials — a materials science and technology company. The project was co-led by graduate student Natasha Gunawan from the labs of professors Michael Burkart (Division of Physical Sciences) and Stephen Mayfield (Division of Biological Sciences), and by Marissa Tessman from Algenesis.

According to Dr. Burkart, the discovery of this foam offers an important step toward the solution to the plastics problem — at least for polyurethanes. The findings are the latest in a series of recent research publications focusing on algae applications as replacements for non-biodegradable plastics.

“The paper shows that we have commercial-quality foams that biodegrade in the natural environment,” said Dr. Mayfield. “After hundreds of formulations, we finally achieved one that met commercial specifications. These foams are 52 percent bio-content — eventually we’ll get to 100 percent.”

All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint articles in their entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact Algae Planet accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

Seagriculture USA 2024



  • May 22, 2024: Scientists at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences have assessed the effects of wild harvested and freeze-dried Asparagopsis taxiformis inclusion in the grass silage-based diets of Norwegian Red dairy cows on feed intake, milk yield and composition, rumen fermentation, and CH4 emission, and have demonstrated promising results both in vitro and in vivo. READ MORE...
  • May 20, 2024: Scientists from Nelson’s Cawthron Institute have joined a $5 million pilot aimed at creating a sustainable commercial seaweed industry in New Zealand. The scientists are conducting a seaweed-growing trial at a mussel farm off the coast of Motueka as part of the Greenwave Aotearoa regenerative ocean farming pilot. READ MORE...
  • May 17, 2024: BettaF!sh, a leading alt seafood and seaweed start-up in Europe, has announced its involvement in the FunSea project, a collaborative EU-wide research initiative designed to advance the nutritional quality and safety of cultivated brown and green seaweed. This research project intends to develop novel, sustainable food products over a three-year period, by employing cutting-edge processing technologies and utilizing residual biomass from biomarine industries. READ MORE...
  • May 15, 2024: The 2024 Algae Biomass Summit, to be held in Houston, Texas, October 20-22, 2024, is now accepting speaker and poster abstracts for the world’s largest algae conference. Abstracts should be submitted by May 24th to receive preferential scoring by the review committee, as well as student registration discounts. READ MORE...

Algae Europe 2024

A Beginner’s Guide