Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl


Macroalgae – monitoring – cultivation – optimisation of ingredients

In coastal-near areas macroalgae constitute an important part of the primary producers, and besides producing large quantities of oxygen, the algae also produce carbon which forms part of the marine nutrient cycle. The large coastal vegetation areas moreover function as important foraging and growth areas for several animal and fish species. Macroalgal diversity, composition, depth distribution and density are included as monitoring parameters in the Danish national aquatic monitoring programme. For several years the monitoring programme has been implemented at a number of coastal-near localities and selected stone reefs. In addition, we have participated in vegetation investigations along the Greenland east coast.

Besides functioning as environmental indicators, the algae constitute an enormous unexploited resource that may be used as biomass for energy and also contain a number of components that may be used in the feedstuffs, food, medical and cosmetics industries. We explore how to optimise the growth of different algae species and how to optimise the amount of ingredients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) and high-value substances such as colouring compounds and bioactive substances. Moreover, we conduct research into how the algae may contribute to the uptake of nutrients and heavy metals and thus to improve the marine environment. Together with the Danish Technological Institute, Kattegatcentret and Havets Hus in Grenå, we run AlgeCenter Danmark, which is a research, innovation and communication consortium. Our research is conducted in the laboratories in Silkeborg, the experimental set-up in Grenå and in large-sized marine cultivation areas in collaboration with other departments at AU, colleagues from other Danish research centres, private companies and through a large international network.



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