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Russian scientists research resource potential of Baltic macroalgae

Potential areas of algae application have been determined on the basis of physical-chemical composition and antioxidant properties of macroalgae

TASS, May 19. Scientists from Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (IKBFU, Kaliningrad), Kemerovo State University and Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IO RAS) assessed the potential uses of macroalgae. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology RAS assessed the resource potential of macroalgae species dominating in polluted waters on the coast of the Baltic Sea. This was reported on Thursday in the IKBFU press service.

Algae biomass has considerable resource potential. There are known applications of macroalgae in medicine, cosmetics, as well as sources of nutrients, fertilizers, agrochemicals, biochar, methane, synthesis gas, hydrogen, liquid fuels and bioethanol. Adding drifting macroalgae into value-added products will not only solve the climatic and environmental problems of coastal zone cleaning, but also get a significant economic effect, including multiplicative nature, such as increasing its tourist attractiveness.

Scientists have identified locations where algae accumulate near the coast and have isolated the dominant species, as well as the pollution to which they are exposed. "The most promising use of their biomass is thermochemical conversion to produce liquid, solid or gaseous fuel," the press service quotes one of the authors of the study, researcher Yulia Kulikova of the Institute of Living Systems at IKBFU.

Algae can also be considered as a raw material for obtaining polysaccharides and proteins, but it is especially important to consider the level and composition of contaminants. "The high protein content in the samples of algae under consideration (17,3-28,2%) allows us to speak about the prospects of their extraction as a target product, but in the future it is necessary to evaluate <...> the influence of impurities on the quality of obtained protein products," said Kulikova.

Evaluation of promising areas of algae application was carried out based on the analysis of physical and chemical composition and antioxidant properties of macroalgae. According to the press-service of the Baltic Federal University, a detailed description of specific diversity of macroalgae on the shore of the Russian part of the Baltic Sea as well as information on physical and chemical composition of selected macroalgae in this part of the Baltic Sea should be considered as a novelty of the research.

The development of bioeconomics, the report says, envisages creating technological schemes of biomass cascade processing, ensuring maximum utilization of biomass. This approach presupposes stage-by-stage extraction of valuable components from the most valuable to the least valuable ones. Obviously, it is impossible to build a cascade of technologies without a comprehensive assessment of the resource potential of macroalgae. Therefore, the task of assessing the resource potential of macroalgae is crucial and will allow to create scientific-theoretical and technological basis for the development of technologies of their cascade processing.