E-17-01 Sustainable post-harvest processing and value-addition of cultured seaweed

Balunkeswar Nayak
Assistant Professor of Food Processing
School of Food and Agriculture
University of Maine

John Belding
Advanced Manufacturing Center, UMaine

Mary Ellen Camire
School of Food and Agriculture, UMaine

Xuan Chen
School of Economics, UMaine

Jennifer Perry
School of Food and Agriculture, UMaine

Denise Skonberg
School of Food and Agriculture, UMaine

Peter Van Walsum
Chemical and Biological Engineering, UMaine

Aquaculture companies in Maine are at the forefront of efforts to culture high-quality seafood products. The industry has grown in the last five years, but those seeking to expand further face some serious challenges. Interest in seaweed aquaculture is increasing in the United States for many reasons, including the demand for natural and local food. Maine is home to the first commercial kelp farm in the nation and has emerged as an industry leader. The challenged faced by many seaweed growers, who have become successful at culturing kelp and other species, is what to do with the raw material after it is harvested. Working with industry partners in New England, Nayak and his team will focus on developing systems for post-harvest processing of seaweed (such as drying, blanching and freezing) and studying the quality, safety and consumer acceptability of various sea vegetable product forms. The project goal is to increase technical capacity of Maine seaweed producers and processors to compete in the food marketplace.

Three-year project, NOAA Sea Grant National Strategic Initiative in Aquaculture funds: $908,015