Marine Extracts Earns Nod from Government
2 September 2013
Among the 51 new government-funded research programmes announced this week, one is of particular interest to Nelson-based seafood researchers and has the potential to add significant value to New Zealand's seafood exports.
‘Export Marine Products’ is a new six-year project aimed at capitalising on the high-value marine extracts market. The programme takes a whole fish, whole value chain approach to the challenge of adding value to New Zealand’s marine products. By examining how to extract maximum value from marine products at multiple points in the value chain, the research is converting traditionally low value by-product streams into high value marine molecules, as well as developing new unique marine extracts with proven applications, such as nutraceuticals, ingredients and biomaterials.
“Marine extracts offer new opportunities as high-value export products for New Zealand,” says Science Group Leader Dr Sue Marshall.
“Aside from food uses, marine organisms contain many useful compounds including bioactives for body, skin and hair health and large polymers for biomaterials. These are often found in low value by-product streams too, so the potential to add value to the industry is huge.”
A world-leading team has been formed combining Plant & Food Research marine biological and biomedical research with the Centre for Biotechnology at Deakin University. It brings together New Zealand and international experts in flavours, wine, biomaterials and technology development.
Commercial partners will be involved throughout the research at every point in the chain, from raw material supply to ingredient manufacturing and product marketing. Together the team will design new products based on market intelligence, develop new processes and process technology, and demonstrate what the products can be used for.
One such commercial partner is SeaDragon Marine Oils Ltd (NZX: SEA), Australasia’s largest refiner and blender of high-quality, internationally-certified concentrated fish derived health supplements.
“We have enjoyed a long-standing fruitful relationship with Plant & Food Research and Plant & Food Research’s success is good news for the Nelson region,” says SeaDragon CEO, Ross Keeley.
“For the last nine years we have worked collaboratively on a number of projects to enhance processing capability and product quality as well as identify novel compounds within the current range of fish oils produced by SeaDragon.”
“We will be looking to Plant & Food scientists to assist us in identifying processing methods to enhance both the quality and concentration of the Omega-3 within the fish oil to be processed through the refinery.”
“SeaDragon is currently unable to meet the burgeoning demand for its products and we are looking forward to continuing this relationship with Plant & Food Research as we capitalise on this opportunity,” Mr Keeley says.
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