NewsBits…September 23, 2021

algaeurope.org   Women of Algae

America’s Leading Seaweed Farmer Secures Funding for Expansion

Atlantic Sea Farms, the largest seaweed producer in the US, has secured a new funding round, led by Desert Bloom Food Ventures — a fund investing in and supporting dynamic food companies. The funding will help the company build out a new state-of-the-art seaweed processing and innovation facility, which also houses Atlantic Sea Farm’s Maine Seaweed Cultivation Center, to process all landed kelp within hours of harvest, and produce high quality products and ingredients that are available year-round. The Atlantic Sea Farms team is currently moving from 6,000 square feet to a 27,000 square foot facility in Biddeford, Maine.
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UC Santa Barbara Digitizing a Significant Seaweed Collection

UC Santa Barbara hosts a large and historic seaweed collection archived for long-term preservation, though largely hidden from public view. Scientists at the university’s Vernon and Mary Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration have been awarded $112,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to make this valuable data freely available. By imaging and transcribing the data associated with each specimen, the researchers aim to make the collection of nearly 10,000 Pacific Coast seaweeds available in an online database.
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PNNL Develops Colorful Seaweed-based Bioink for 3D Printing

Scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a new seaweed-based bioink for 3D printing. Dubbed ArtSea Ink, the biodegradable material is made largely out of alginate, a naturally occurring polymer typically found in brown seaweed. Alginate is biocompatible, low cost, and can be used to form a stable gel without heat, meaning it can be extruded at low temperatures to form 3D structures. The PNNL team also integrated fine mica pigment powders into the formulation, resulting in a set of colorful, vibrant inks suited to artistic applications.
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Cement Producer Tapping Smokestacks for CO2 to Biofuels

A wide range of Carbon Capture and Conversion technology pathways are being explored by the cement industry to address the urgency of the climate crisis. One of these options is the use of microalgae to capture CO2 and transform it into valuable products. Over the past 10 years, international cement producer Argos has been researching and scaling up their use of microalgae. Recently, the company has been testing a group of technologies to capture CO2 directly from the cement plant smokestack using photobioreactors and transforming the resulting microalgal biomass into biofuels.
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Ful Foods Introduces “Climate Active” Blue Spirulina Soft Drinks

Microalgae brand Ful is launching a trio of healthy blue soft drinks it claims are “climate active.” Called Revive, the spirulina-based drinks are available online in three flavors: White Peach, Lemon & Ginger and Mint & Lime. Low in calories and sugar, the drinks’ blue color comes from phycocyanin, a natural antioxidant found in spirulina. Their claim to be “climate active” is because the microalgae absorb one and a half to two times their weight in carbon and photosynthesize it, releasing oxygen. Ful worked with leading food and flavor scientists to transform the spirulina, which “usually tastes and smells unpleasant,” into a “tasty water-soluble, unapologetically blue superfood.”
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