Project: Marine Innovation using Novel Enzymes for waste Reduction and Valorisation of Algal biomass

Acronym MINERVA (Reference Number: 5)
Duration 01/09/2020 - 31/08/2023
Project Topic MINERVA aims to valorise underutilised seaweed biomass sustainably produced across Europe, to develop new high-value products and reduce waste in current processes. It will add value to brown algal biomass presently used at low efficiency, focused on bulk Ascophyllum (wild-harvest) and Saccharina (cultivated), in addition to other regionally important niche species of commercial potential, based on principles of waste reduction and ‘food first’ for new products within the blue bioeconomy. Novel, environmentally friendly algal compounds will be developed to address identified consumer needs in food, cosmetics, biomedical and aquaculture industries. This will be achieved via 1) new extraction methods aiding purification of bioactives, and 2) omicsbased approaches on unexplored marine microbial sources to develop new enzymes for application to a wide range of marine biomass. Novel algal extracts will be provided to partners (including SMEs) with expertise in algal biology/biochemistry, food fibres and ingredients, seaweed-based cosmetics, the development of novel antifouling agents for aquaculture and biomedical applications. Anticipated outputs are: novel enzymes with food and health applications; novel food fibres; active algal compounds for cosmetics and aquaculture (antifouling agents); integration of algal components into hydrogels and encapsulation. All partners are experienced in marine innovation using algal biomass, and strong collaborative links exist to ensure integration of complementary expertise, effective workflow and high potential for exploitation of outputs. Industry participation including end-user testing and dissemination activities will support near-to-market evaluation of results. MINERVA will further develop Europe’s research capacity by training early stage researchers in marine biotechnology within the consortium and create a focal point for marine bioresources research in Europe to maintain its leading position in this rapidly emerging area. Project management, dissemination and communication, will be underpinned by RRI principles.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
Expected results/outputs include new enzymes and optimised extraction methodologies for multiple applications on selected algal species, to integrate efficient biomass utilisation for new products. Results of international scientific and commercial value, will be disseminated to scientific and public stakeholders including industry as appropriate, and commercially exploited as per Consortium Agreement, with endusers integrated into the Consortium. Specific outputs (WPs) Tool kit and processes for optimised extraction of algal compounds with multiple high-end uses (food, cosmetics, aquaculture, biomedicine) (all); Valorisation of algal compounds (focus on polysaccharides) from bulk species currently used in low-value applications & wasteful processes (all); Identification of compounds derived from niche species (WPs2,7,8); Significant collection of novel enzymes for EAE approaches from various marine biomass to access novel ingredients for food & human health (WP3); Description of market potential of algal ingredients into value streams for food replacing traditional sources; evaluation of functional and behavioural properties of new seaweed ingredients including market positioning (WP5) ; Components with antifouling potential designed for use on static structures essential in aquaculture, by laboratory and field testing of new components (WP6) ; Identification of new markets for sustainable biomass with high-value applications in cosmetics (WP7); New processes & validation for algal extracts in hydrogels and encapsulation processes (patent anticipated) (WP8); Increased stakeholder awareness and creation of market potential for algal biomass (WP5,7,9); Enhanced training and skills of researchers furthering the European Blue Bioeconomy (all)
Network BlueBio
Call 1st BlueBio Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 National University of Ireland Galway Coordinator Ireland
2 University College Cork Partner Ireland
3 CyberColloids Ltd Partner Ireland
4 Research Institutes of Sweden Partner Sweden
5 MATIS Partner Iceland
6 UNA skincare Partner Iceland