Development of an industrial scale extraction process for beta glucans from brown macroalgae

Shannon ABC are delighted to announce that Dr Rajeev Ravindran has been awarded an Irish Research Postdoctoral Scholarship at MTU, Kerry. Rajeev’s project is in collaboration with a local Kerry biotechnology company – Nutramara. The project is entitled ‘Development of an industrial scale extraction process for beta glucans from brown macroalgae’ and is funded by the IRC for a duration of two years.

The project is based on the valorisation of different Irish seaweed species for their various bioactive compounds. Specifically, they are aiming to develop a simple and sustainable process for the extraction of beta-glucan from seaweed such as deep sea tangles (Laminaria) and sugar kelp (Saccharina). Traditional methods of laminarin extraction are energy intensive, time consuming, utilise large volume of solvents, and result in poor yield. Hydrothermal-assisted extraction (HAE) is a low cost, easy to use and environmentally friendly alternative extraction technology that could be easily scaled-up for the industrial production of laminarin. Additionally, most methods utilise large volumes of ethanol which becomes a hurdle from a scale up point of view. Furthermore, limited information is currently available on the relationship between the molecular weight of the beta glucan and its bioactive properties. This project is designed to bridge these gaps while making beta glucan production from macroalgae commercially viable. The polysaccharide thus produced will be tested for its bioactive properties and health benefits such as prebiotic, immunomodulatory, antioxidant properties etc.

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