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Cooking and processing of seaweed to improve consumer acceptance, protein digestion and nutrient bioavailability

posted on 2023-08-07, 21:40 authored by James Chan, Matthew BarnettMatthew Barnett, Dale Bowie, Clare Bradley, Tane Bradley, David Burritt, Eleanor Cheong, Santanu Deb ChoudhurySantanu Deb Choudhury, David Everett, Stephen HainesStephen Haines, Linn Hoffmann, Jeremy Lim, Amber MilanAmber Milan, Niranjan Nagarajan, Geraldine Oh, Elizabeth Rettedal, Alastair RossAlastair Ross, Katja Schweikert, Lee TaneLee Tane, Jonathan Teo, Kai Yee Toh, Linda SamuelssonLinda Samuelsson

New knowledge about human digestion, nutritional availability, flavour and health benefits of seaweed as a whole food is generated through this collaborative project. Several protein-rich seaweed species in their raw form, including Undaria pinnatifida and Ulva sp., from New Zealand and/or Singapore are  characterised from nutritional and food safety perspectives, and environmental factors affecting seaweed composition are investigated. Seaweed will then be prepared into delicious food products using innovative cooking methods for comparison with extensively processed seaweed to identify benefits of the whole food concept: Raw, cooked, and extensively processed seaweed will be digested in a state-of-the art in vitro digestion system representing the stomach, small and large intestines. The latter will contain extracted NZ or Singaporean human gut microbiota to account for differences in diet, and thus in gut microbiota and ability to digest seaweed, between these two populations. Processes through different stages of digestion will be tracked using advanced proteomic, peptidomic and metabolomic techniques and microbiota composition. Metagenomic and metabolomic tools will monitor the longitudinal trajectory of both NZ and Singaporean microbiota and metabolite products during digestion. Results will be integrated to obtain mechanistic insight into seaweed cooking techniques, digestion and nutritional benefits to the consumer, both directly and through the impact of the microbiota, and will inform a human clinical trial.

This presentation includes an overview of the project, results to date and planned next steps. The knowledge generated in this project will inform product development of the next generation of seaweed-based protein-rich foods.


MBIE Catalyst programme “Cooking and processing of seaweed to improve consumer acceptance, protein digestion and nutrient bioavailability”


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This is an open-access output. It may be used, distributed or reproduced in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Publication date


Project number

  • PRJ0243002


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No


AgResearch Ltd

Conference name

24th International Seaweed Symposium (ISS 2023)

Conference location

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Conference start date


Conference end date


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