Adrian Spencer sees a lot in seaweed. His recent research revealed that Australia has over 12,000 native species of seaweed and algae, and they contain bioactive health ingredients such as Omega-3 and collagen. Both are in demand globally but with minimal local production, the potential of opening new markets within Australia is extremely attractive.
“We have an incredible natural native supply of algae, and the Australian environment is ideal for algae growth.
“Algae was seen as a biofuel alternative for many years, but this research we’re doing shows there’s a great pivot available here and the past research work and infrastructure that was invested into biofuel possibilities can absolutely be used in the health and nutraceutical field,” explained Mr Spencer.
AgriFutures Australia’s General Manager, Business Development, Michael Beer said Mr Spencer’s research has helped the emerging seaweed industry diversify their markets and has made a valuable contribution to the advancement of Australian agriculture.
“The Australian nutraceutical industry relies on $1 billion worth of imported ingredients annually, for use in vitamins, minerals and supplements manufacture. Research as part of this AgriFutures Emerging Industries-funded project has shown that Australia has a wealth of native species that have highly sought-after nutraceutical benefits, such as omega-3 oils and inhibitors for collagen degradation.
“The opportunity exists for companies to source Australian ingredients as replacements for those imports, and to identify emerging local and export markets that can be supplied with innovative local products with proven health benefits,” said Mr Beer.
The inaugural AgriFutures Australia Research Awards were developed to acknowledge and reward researchers who produce an extremely high quality of work and make a valuable contribution towards the advancement of Australian agriculture.
AgriFutures Australia’s General Manager, Research, John Smith said the organisation is fortunate to be able to work with a number of talented and dedicated researchers on a day-to-day basis.
“It’s been a tough few years for researchers with COVID-19 causing many delays, many not able to conduct field studies, travel or even enter labs. It’s wonderful to be able to highlight the impressive work of Adrian and our three runner-ups,” said Mr Smith.