Screening and processing techniques for macroalgae in food applications

Bela.H.Buck [ at ]


The trend to consume “to-go”, “ready-to-eat” or “convenience” food has increased over the last years (Statista, 2016). As a consequence, the amount of single-used packaging materials has also increased. Most of these packaging materials are made of non-biodegradable, petroleum-based polymers that have degradative impacts on the environment. This aspect is in conflict with the consumer expectations to have healthy and environmental-friendly food products including the surrounding packaging. Therefore, new, innovative and sustainable packaging concepts need to be established. A way for achieving this ambitious goal could be biodegradable and/or edible packaging concepts made form macroalgae (seaweeds). Macroalgae provide a sustainable, inexpensive and renewable raw material for packaging concepts due to their naturally occurring quantities and characteristic polymers such as alginate or agar. Moreover, marine hydrocolloids are commonly used in the food industry as thickeners or gelling agents and are accepted by consumers. For the proof of concept to develop a macroalgal-based packaging, we conducted a screening of local sources of green, red and brown algae to select a portfolio of functional and environmental-friendly species. We take into account that the intact and sensible maritime ecosystem should still be protected. Key markers for the selection were the concentration of iodine (low), hydrocolloids (high) and possible toxins (low) as well as local availability. The biodegradable macroalgae packaging concept was studied by using different mechanical preparation techniques under various conditions (e.g. energy input, shear rate, temperature etc.). The applied technology as well as the type of macroalgae led to different material properties of the produced macroalgal-based packaging. In contrast with common studies, where edible films are created by extracted hydrocolloids, the aim of the novel production system is to use the macro-algae in an ecological and economic optimized manner. The project (“Mak-Pak”) is supported by funds of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) based on a decision of the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany via the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) under the innovation support program.

Item Type
Conference (Talk)
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Helmholtz Cross Cutting Activity (2021-2027)
Publication Status
Event Details
48th Conference of the West European Fish Technologists’ Association (WEFTA), 15 Oct 2018 - 18 Oct 2018, Lisbon (Portugal).
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Cite as
Bosse, R. , Hofmann, L. C. , Reimold, F. , Buck, B. H. , Henjes, J. , Enders, I. and Hoffmann, D. (2018): Screening and processing techniques for macroalgae in food applications , 48th Conference of the West European Fish Technologists’ Association (WEFTA), Lisbon (Portugal), 15 October 2018 - 18 October 2018 .

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