The seaweeds used in the NutraMara bioprocess are harvested by hand along the western seaboard. This is done in a very traditional and respectful way ensuring enough of the stipe remains to encourage regeneration of the plant. The harvest is processed as quickly as possible to ensure that the molecules are preserved in their closest to nature form to generate bioactive ingredients of the highest quality with optimum bioactivity. This is evidenced in NutraMara’s Origin Green Gold status and marine bioactive certifications as organic, vegan and halal.
Traditionally seaweed processing has involved high potency solvents, high temperatures and waste streams of seaweed biomass, chemicals, water and energy. NutraMara has invested significantly in the development of novel bioprocesses, free from harsh chemicals, with low temperatures and energy requirements, in which 100% of the biomass is converted to several functional ingredients. This is known as cascading extraction.
This clean, low energy, cascading process is a key pillar of the zero waste, net zero carbon marine biorefinery model that NutraMara is progressing. The biorefinery approach is state of the art in clean manufacturing, and generates a range of products from a single input (in this case seaweed) that meets a range of consumer needs from a single input using novel extraction and conversion technologies.
The NutraMara cascade generates new value chains from aquaculture to the food, beverage, feed, and cosmetic products sectors. The water side streams are provided to a company for integration into organic seaweed biostimulant production for use in agriculture, this returns to the land closing the loop from sea to soil.
NutraMara’s in-house seaweed cultivation program is a key pillar of the journey to a net zero carbon company. Seaweed farming is getting increased recognition globally as a climate mitigation, food security and ocean health strategy. This is due to the fact that the ocean is the planet’s largest carbon sink, where coastal marine systems can absorb carbon at rates up to 50 times greater than forests.
Seaweeds have rapid growth rates, high nutritional value, do not require fertiliser or fresh water and do not compete for land. These ocean plants have been capturing carbon for over 500 years, reaching > 200 million tonnes of carbon annually, contributing to the 60% of the planet’s oxygen produced by ocean plants and supporting ocean ecosystem health and biodiversity. This approach provides NutraMara with the potential to capture significant quantities of carbon and enhance ocean ecosystem health whilst in tandem contributing the transparency and supply chain security.