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Accelerated Seaweed Production for Innovative and Robust seaweed aquaculture in Europe


The ASPIRE project will develop fast growing seaweed strains to strengthen Europe’s potential to thrive in an emerging seaweed aquaculture industry. Seaweed cultivation is the fastest growing aquaculture sector and provides huge potential for market growth in Europe. The red algae Palmaria palmata is one of the target species of a growing European seaweed industry due to its high content of protein (20–35%), essential minerals and its appealing flavour. Recently, there has been significant advancements in the aquaculture procedures for Palmaria, but these approaches are still mainly built on the utilisation of randomly collected wild-types of Palmaria. A targeted strain selection has therefore huge potential to increase the prospects of Palmaria aquaculture in Europe. The objective of the ASPIRE project is to screen and characterise high- yielding and robust Palmaria strains. This will be implemented utilising high-throughput phenotyping technologies using performance screening (growth, morphology characteristics and photosynthetic parameters) and metabolomic analysis (primary/secondary metabolites using GC-MS, spectrophotometer, NMR etc.). These results in conjunction with next generation sequencing (Illumina seq.) and bioinformatics tools (TASSEL pipeline) will be utilised to identify both biochemical and genetic markers of high-yielding Palmaria strains. To ensure that the results have a high impact and find their way to the commercial end-user, the project will establish a novel and easy-to-use web-based database (MySQL, VueJS) specifically designed for use by the aquaculture stakeholders. The ASPIRE project will conduct farm-level trials to validate the advantages of growing the selected elite seaweed strains in terms of productivity and overall biomass quality. The multi-disciplinary project will set the bases for an urgently needed modern seaweed breeding programme to further develop the emerging European seaweed aquaculture sector.


Net EU contribution
€ 215 534,40
University Road
H91 Galway

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Ireland Eastern and Midland Dublin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
No data