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Seaweed Central To €1.4 million Research Project Backed by Science Foundation Ireland

11th June 2024
Pictured at UCD for the announcement on €1.4m on researching food supplements using seaweed-based micronutrients were (left-right): Shane O’Connell, Head of Innovation, Marigot Ltd, Dr Aisling McEvoy, Director of Enterprise Partnerships at SFI, and Prof. Kenneth Dawson, Project Co-Lead
Pictured at UCD for the announcement on €1.4m on researching food supplements using seaweed-based micronutrients were (left-right): Shane O’Connell, Head of Innovation, Marigot Ltd, Dr Aisling McEvoy, Director of Enterprise Partnerships at SFI, and Prof. Kenneth Dawson, Project Co-Lead Credit: Jason Clarke

Seaweed is central to a €1.4 million research project exploring opportunities to produce more effective and inexpensive food supplements.

Researchers at University College Dublin (UCD) have been given the four-year award by Science Foundation Ireland for the project, which is entitled “Bio-inspired particle architecture delivery technologies (Bio-PADT)”.

The project involving Prof Kenneth Dawson, Prof Yan Yan, Prof Grace Mulcahy and Prof David Brayden is a partnership between UCD and Marigot Ltd.

Marigot Ltd is described as a pioneer in harvesting and production of seaweed minerals for nutritional value.

The research programme seeks to develop an understanding of marine-derived raw materials, including the company’s product named “Aquamin”, a multi-mineral complex derived from Lithothamnion seaweed species.

The UCD researchers aim to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms in how complex particle materials function.

Dr Siobhán Roche,who is director of science for the economy at Science Foundation Ireland, said the project “highlights the impact of the strategic partnership programme, which aims to build partnerships across academia and industry to address key societal challenges and enhance the competitiveness of our economy”.

Marigot Ltd managing director Michael Ryan said his company is “excited by what the Bio-PADT project can deliver for nutrient delivery and particle interaction with biological barriers and the immune system”.

“We envisage new discoveries which can be groundbreaking for treating micro-nutrient deficiencies and modulating inflammatory processes in human and animal applications,” he said.

Published in Marine Science Team

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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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