The iCULTURE project is warming up its engines and it’s ready to get to the core of its research activities after the kick-off meeting, held in Porto on the 18th and 19th of September 2023.  iCULTURE is a four-year project funded by the European Commission as a Research and Innovation Action under Horizon Europe and it is coordinated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Currently, over 100 Megatons of seaweed constitute Europe’s largest biomass, but less than 0.25% is utilized. After they extract important chemical compounds from the seaweed, the chemical companies are left with 50-70% remains (“residual side-streams”), that have very little applications. These residuals are discarded, or at best, sold as low-cost, low nitrogen fertilizer. Existing data on more than 10.000 macroalgae species could help this industrial sector to improve processes, making smart and intelligent use of the residuals.

The iCULTURE project aims to prospect new seaweed resources and to generate a catalyst that can convert such seaweed residual side-streams into high value bioactives. In a broader sense, iCULTURE aims to contribute to answer the needs of the marine, feed, food, and industrial pharma sectors by establishing a novel zero-waste value chain. Importantly, the protection of ocean’s biodiversity life, and the utilisation of bioresources will be a combined goal of the project in a most unusual way. Among its goal, the project will turn potential blooming and invasive seaweed species that plague Europe into valuable biomass!