Composition and processing of Ulva intestinalis from 8 different sites along the Swedish coast
Conference contribution, 2018
Seaweed has the potential to provide a large quantities of biomass as feedstocks for production of energy and chemicals. Compared to terrestrial biomasses, seaweed does not require arable land or fertilizer for cultivation, effectively not competing with food production. Significant efforts are now being made to improve both cultivation, extraction techniques and product development of seaweed to enable a seaweed industry in the future. An aspect that has thus far received little attention is on the optimisation of cultivation siting to maximise the content of valuable components in the biomass (and minimize waste), despite it being well known that variation in ambient conditions cause significant changes in biomass composition.
In this study, we have investigated the opportunistic summer seaweed Ulva intestinalis, which is of commercial interest due to its high growth rate and broad distribution along the entire Swedish coast. To evaluate where cultivation could be most beneficial from a biomass composition perspective, samples were collected from 8 sites along the Swedish coastline between Tjärnö on the west coast to Stockholm on the east. At each site, 3 separate populations were sampled. For each sample the content and profile of metals, sugars, ash and lipids were measured. These measures are being evaluated to highlight trends relating to differences in location conditions. The largest impact could be seen on the sugar compostition, as monosaccharides present in the polysaccharide ulvan showed, roughly, a 2-fold increase on the east coast compared to the western coast.