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Demo extraction of added-value ingredients from algae by-products

Work Package 2 (WP2) of the CIRCALGAE project has made significant strides in developing initial lab processing protocols for various macroalgae and microalgae species. Our team focused on Pheodactylum and Spirulina for microalgae, and Gelidium and Laminaria for macroalgae. These species were selected for their potential to produce valuable ingredients for the food, feed, and cosmetic industries. 

During the first 18 months, WP2 has successfully established foundational laboratory methods for the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of these algae in connection with WP1. Key achievements include optimizing growth conditions and refining extraction techniques to maximize the yield and quality of algae-derived compounds. For example, we fine-tuned protocols for extracting high-value components such as proteins and polysaccharides, which are crucial for commercial applications. 

As we transitioned towards the upscaling phase, several challenges emerged. Converting lab-scale protocols to larger operations required extensive adjustments to maintain the efficacy and efficiency of the extraction processes. This phase involved substantial back-and-forth communication among project partners to share data, refine methods, and set up optimal conditions for upscaling. Identifying the best practices for scaling up involved iterative testing and modifications, reflecting the complex nature of transitioning from controlled lab environments to industrial-scale production. 

The collaborative efforts in WP2 have been instrumental in overcoming these hurdles, ensuring the protocols are robust and adaptable for larger production volumes. The next steps involve the production of ingredients and transfer to stakeholders who will begin formulating products. This transition will enable the creation of innovative algae-based ingredients for the market, aligning with CIRCALGAE’s goal of contributing to sustainable bioproduct development. 

Overall, the advancements in WP2 underscore the importance of rigorous method development and continuous characterization and assessment, and partnership in scaling up algae processing techniques, paving the way for successful product formulation in the coming months.

Extract of Phaeodactylum tricornotum
© Rodrigo Oliver Simancas, Postdoctoral Researcher at Chalmers

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