Sargassum covered beach
Methane is a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide, and livestock accounts for about 14.5% of climate-warming emissions worldwide, according to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. For the past decade, researchers have been investigating the causes and remedies of methane produced by cattle. Between 2016 and 2018 the topic heated to a boil with the discovery that adding seaweed to cattle feed reduced methane burps, especially the red macroalga, Asparagopsis taxiformis.
The race is on!
Scientists all over the world are now intensively working on how to maximize the economic and environmental effectiveness. Researchers are pointing to the bromoform produced by Asparaopsis as the key compound that blocks the production of methane in cows, sheep, goats and other ruminant animals. By changing growing conditions, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, the bromoform concentration can be more than doubled.
Experts are currently debating in which stage to grow the seaweed. The practical considerations include not only the cost of cultivation but its carbon footprint. If growing the seaweed and shipping it to farms generates considerable amounts of greenhouse gas, the process could cancel out the benefits of reducing methane.
Growing Asparagopsis would likely require doing so in tanks of sterilized seawater to prevent contamination of the clingy plant material. That means using some form of energy to pump in air and nitrogen. The problem is it's going to be expensive. The ultimate goal is the most scalable and lowest cost method of production, and to achieve this some point to offshore farming rather than in tanks on land.
There is still some uncertainty with respect to the cattle as well. Will seaweeds reduce methane indefinitely, are there any negative effects to the animals, and will the cows voluntarily eat seaweed infused feed? To address these questions, Ermias Kebreab, an animal science professor at UC Davis, is currently conducting a 6 month feeding trial with cattle.
Many of the outstanding questions will be answered soon enough. Whether motivated by profits or global warming, the race is on to patent recipes for growing, scaling, and processing seaweed for animal feed.
Chef Patrick Ho from Fortuna Hotel Hanoi shares his signature dish, seaweed pasta with scallops. What makes this dish so different is that it uses seaweed sauce instead of simply adding seaweed flakes or noodles. More and more chefs have been creating seaweed butter and sauces. The best part is, these kinds of butter and sauces are incredibly easy to make and a great way to get seaweed into your diet to reap all those health benefits.
To make seaweed sauce:
- Put the seaweed into the pot at a medium heat
- When the seaweed is becoming soggy, reduce to lower heat and add water until it boils.
- Add a little salt to taste.
To make the seaweed dish:
- Cook the pasta for 3-4 minutes in boiling water.
- Cut white radish and Seaweed Nori into small pieces.
- Fry the scallops in the oil until they are just golden brown.
- Sauté the pasta and scallops and then add the seaweed sauce.
Read full article here from vietnam news
Kate Hamm is the pastry chef for Bao Bao and Lio resturants in Portland, Maine. She recently revealed her recipe for seaweed cookies. These aren’t your traditional sweet cookies, these are soft and savory sablé cookies (sablé is French for sandy). Once the cookie is made it can be topped by a number of items, in this case, caviar.
1/3 cup cake flour
2/3 cup all purpose flour
3 tbls. powdered sugar
1 stick butter
2 tbls. dried and ground seaweed (preferably dulse, wakame, nori, kombu)
Pulse flours, sugar, and powdered seaweed in food processor until well mixed. Add butter and pulse until you have a dough. Roll into a log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 -8 hours (the longer the better).
Once the log of dough is solid, slice into coins about 1/8" thick. Brush with water and top with a flake or two of sea salt. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes (edges should be gold).
Once cool, top with creme fraiche, caviar or trout roe, and minced preserved lemon, or other toppings of your choice. :)
Watch the demo below
Due to climate change and nutrification of coastal environments, algal blooms are becoming more frequent and exaggerated. Algal blooms are typically in reference to microalgae, however, there can be blooms of macroalgae as well. For example, right now over 100 million tons of Sargassum are headed to the Mexican shores. For many coastal industries, this is a big problem, harbors become blocked and resort beaches become deserted. That’s why President López Obrador is bringing out the big guns, the Mexican Navy. The help is coming after an outcry of resorts failing to keep the beaches clear. The Cancún-Puerto Morelos hotels association has estimated that cleaning the beaches of sargassum will cost at least 700 million pesos (US $36.7 million) this year.
It’s unclear what the Navy has planned for 100 million tons of seaweed, our guess is to throw it all in a landfill. One thing is clear, any entrepreneurs that figure out how to make that seaweed into a revenue stream will become extremely wealthy. Hotel chains are already willing to pay millions for someone to take it away. There is opportunity for production of, fertilizers, nutraceuticals, protein, or cosmetics.
Read an article about the Mexican navy involvement here
Did you know we owe seaweed for helping discover umami?
Kikunae Ikeda a Japanese chemist and professor at Tokyo Imperial University had been studying a broth made from seaweed and dried fish flakes called dashi. Through numerous chemical assays, Ikeda had been trying to isolate the molecules behind its distinctive taste. In a 1909 paper, Ikeda claimed the flavor in question came from the amino acid glutamate, a building block of proteins. He suggested that the savory sensation triggered by glutamate should be one of the basic tastes that give something flavor, on a par with sweet, sour, bitter, and salt. He called it “umami”, riffing on a Japanese word meaning “delicious”.
Ikeda’s paper was not well received, and it took over a hundred years for the term “umami” to be internationally recognized. Over the decades, scientists began to put together how umami works. Each new insight brought the claim put forth by Ikeda into better focus. The discovery that made umami stick was about 20 years ago, showing that there are specific receptors in taste buds that pick up on amino acids. Multiple research groups have now reported on these receptors, which are tuned to specifically stick onto glutamate.
Ikeda, found a seasoning manufacturer and started to produce his own line of umami seasoning. The product, a monosodium glutamate (MSG) powder called Aji-No-Moto, is still made today. (Although rumors have swirled periodically that eating too much MSG can give people headaches and other health problems, the US Food and Drug Administration has found no evidence for such claims. It just makes food taste more savory.)
While other food items have umami flavors, it was seaweed that gave the term life.
A very interesting article in WHYY marketplace called “Is kelp the new kale? It was supposed to be” hits at an interesting point. A few years ago seaweed was being called the next superfood, and bold claims like, “seaweed would become the new kale” were commonplace. But that hasn’t happened yet, why?
Anoushka Concepcion is an assistant extension educator with the Connecticut Sea Grant. She works with seafood producers and researchers and answers questions about the latest technology and trends. In an interview Anoushka said “The idea sort of took off before all the practical challenges can be addressed,” Concepcion said. “Farmers are finding it difficult now just to get rid of their seaweed. They can’t get rid of it.”
Bren Smith, co-founder of GreenWave, says the seaweed business is past the startup phase and now needs to build infrastructure and grow market demand by changing people’s tastes on a larger scale.
We all know it’s good for us, now we just need to start eating it.
Just the other night a few of us were talking about making fried chicken with dulse, and potentially how good it could be. Lo and behold, today we found a recipe for roasted chicken with crunchy dulse!
This recipe calls for kelp and dulse and is an excellent twist on the traditional roasted chicken.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon red dulse flakes or powder
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) whole chicken, patted dry
1 small bunch fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme or sage
1 pound baby potatoes, halved, or quartered if large
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups ready-cut (or slaw-cut) kelp seaweed (about 6 ounces), water lightly squeezed out (see Note)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Large pinch of red-pepper flakes
In a small bowl, stir together softened butter, dulse, lemon zest and juice, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Rub all over chicken, including the cavity, underneath the skin, then on top of the skin. Stuff herb bunch into cavity and transfer chicken to a rimmed baking sheet. Let marinate at least 1 hour or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
Heat oven to 425 degrees and place a rack in the middle. Remove chicken from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature while you prepare vegetables.
In a large bowl, toss together potatoes, onion, kelp, oil, red-pepper flakes and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread mixture out surrounding the chicken on the baking sheet.
Roast, tossing vegetables every 20 minutes, until chicken is browned and a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh reads 160 degrees, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, transfer chicken to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil for 10 minutes.
Transfer roasted vegetables to a serving platter and top with chicken and any remaining juices from baking sheet. Serve immediately.
Did you know you can mix seaweed with melted butter to enhance the taste of a variety of dishes? We have provided two examples using two different varieties of seaweed and on two very different dishes. The butter itself is incredibly easy to make by simply grinding (if dry) or pureeing (if fresh/ wet) the seaweed of choice and mixing with melted butter. These recipes were published in Bon Appétit.
Note* the kelp and nori recipes assume using dry seaweed as that’s what is mostly available at the store, however, using fresh seaweed as puree will likely have an even better taste and texture.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns (do not let it burn), 5–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Pulse nori and soaking water in a food processor to a coarse paste. Stir into brown butter along with chopped dill; season with salt and keep nori brown butter warm.
cook and serve scallops with nori brown butter, dill sprigs, and lemons for squeezing over.
Grind kombu in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. (You should have about ¾ tsp.) Heat oil in a medium heavy skillet over medium-high and add half of cabbage, cut side down. Cook cabbage, undisturbed, until underside is almost blackened (the edge of the sides will start to brown as well), 10–15 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low, add butter to skillet, and shake pan to help butter get in, around, and under cabbage. As soon as butter is melted and foaming, tilt skillet toward you and spoon browning butter over cabbage, being sure to bathe the area around the core.
A London-based start-up called Skipping Rocks Lab has created edible and biodegradable pouches, called Ooho, that dissolve in about a month when discarded. The cool part is, they are made from seaweed, a sustainable resource.
Oohos were used recently at the London Marathon. The golf ball sized pouches were filled with a sports drink. Runners merely had to bite into the pouch or place the entire pod inside their mouth and start chewing to access the once of liquid. The event organizers wanted to cut down on the one-time use plastics typically associated with these events, and the company got a chance to show how their application can be scaled for mass production in the future.
Just another way that seaweed is changing how people do business.
Read an article from the Washington Post
Motoharu Uchida, a fisheries researcher, has created a fermented seaweed version of soy sauce. The story behind the discovery is amusing, Motoharu had forgotten that he left a batch of seaweed in his refrigerator. The seaweed had turned rancid, but when he poured the rotten glob down the sink, a faint sweet smell arose. This lead to the 15-year long journey in creating a soy sauce made from fermented seaweeds. Upon final success, he named his sauce “nori shoyu” (seaweed soy sauce).
The resulting sauce is weaker than traditional soy sauce, however, the umami savory flavor is said to last longer. The seaweed soy sauce contains no wheat or soybeans which means it’s an excellent alternative for individuals with certain food allergies and could reduce the need for soy.
Read the entire story from here
Chef Thibault Lescuyer, leads a small cooking class on how to cook with seaweeds. He outlines how to cook with fresh and dried seaweeds and how they are being incorporated in French restaurants in the video below
A new book, “Enzymatic Technologies for Marine Polysaccharides” contains an interesting chapter on seaweeds called, “The manufacture, characterization, and uses of fucoidans from macroalgae.“
Fucoidans are sulfated, complex, fucose-rich, polymers found in brown seaweeds, most notably the order Fucales known as the fucoids. The chapter details extraction methods and uses in food supplements, pharmaceuticals, bio-materials, cosmetics, and animal/ agricultural applications.
The authors claim that most fucoidan available on the market are for dietary supplementation, however, they admit that the molecule species is hard to identify and robust identification assays should be employed in any bioactive study. There is a new interest in animal health relating to fucoidan, and could be an emerging market.
Focoidans are considered safe and have a variety of uses, again showing how a completely sustainable resource (seaweeds) have a variety of revenue streams.
This is fun! On a new digital series, Marvel’s Eat the Universe, celebrity chef Justin Warner is joined by special guests to craft unique, fun dishes inspired by Marvel characters and stories!
In this episode, chef Brian Tsao creates an aquatic-themed sandwich inspired by Namor the Sub-Mariner! The sandwich uses fresh seaweed along with fried bay scallops, shrimp, calamari, oysters, and white fish.
For the directions follow the link here and you can watch the video below.
Ramen is a popular Japanese dish, it consists of noodles served in a meat or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso. There are also a variety of toppings available. Ramen has become a culinary explosion, with ramen shops popping up all over the USA.
However, going out for ramen with vegetarian friends can lead to mixed reviews. The main difference comes in the vegetarian broth, and the broth is what makes or breaks a bowl of ramen. To answer this problem, some chefs have started making kelp broths. Kelp broth will naturally have a meaty (umami) taste with a hint of salty ocean. We recently read a review in Broadsheet (food and drink section) from a die-hard ramen fan in Australia. The author of the piece, Molly Urquhart, goes into great detail about her typical disappointment with vegetarian ramen, and how her discovery of kelp broth is more than satisfactory.
We hope to see more ramen shops incorporating their own version of seaweed or kelp broth. Kelp stock would be an excellent meat broth alternative being sustainable, healthy, and economically viable.
Portland chef Mike Wylie suggests using dried seaweed like bay leaves in your everyday cooking. You’ll be doing the local, sustainable seaweed economy a big favor.
At a networking event “Why Seaweed Matters” Wylie said that when he walks through any of the Big Tree Hospitality kitchens he co-owns and operates, and he sees a pot of anything simmering on the stove, “I’m like ‘throw some seaweed in that!’ because it makes most things taste better.” Seaweed deepens flavor in dishes stemming from many other cultures, everything from vegetable soup and tomato sauce to rice and beans and meaty braises.
When including dried seaweed in your everyday cooking, for every quart of liquid, add a 2- by 2-inch piece of dried seaweed, before setting the pot to simmer. The rule of thumb is that most seaweed has done its work after 30-40 minutes in the pot.
You can read more about “why kelp matters” on the FB event page
As we leave winter behind, it will soon be time to dust off the sunglasses and purchase a bottle of your favorite sunscreen.
Sunscreens have received a lot of bad press lately, either because of their ability to damage skin or because they wash off into the ocean and are toxic to marine life. An Icelandic company Taramar has been working to address these issues. Taramar focuses on skin health by the use of natural molecules found in plants. Recently they turned their attention to seaweed.
Their result was the TARASÓL UV filter which lacks preservatives and is safe for the skin and body.
Professor Gudrun Marteinsdottir, founder and CEO of Taramar, says, “TARASÓL is the result of years of basic research in marine biology and nutritional science leading to new knowledge on the functional properties of seaweed.″
Taramar has not disclosed the molecule from seaweed. However, we know that plants have developed ways of avoiding UV damage and this could be a good way to harness what nature already knows to produce a safe organic alternative to traditional sunscreens.
Sydney Australia used to have a rich coastline teeming with life, and crayweed (Phyllospora comosa) stretched far and wide. Crayweed is a brown macroalga that forms dense bushy habitat for a variety of marine life. Sometime back in the 80s, crayweed largely disappeared, and much of the inhabitants with it. While the cause of the crayweed reduction was unclear, many point to prolonged poor water quality.
The water quality in Sydney has improved, but the crayweed didn’t bounce back as expected. Thus enters Operation Crayweed, an effort to restore the natural population of crayweed around Sydney. The group settles crayweed onto mats, then divers deploy and secure the mats so the crayweed can naturally spread.
Below is a wonderful video outlining the effort. What a good way to rebuild an ecosystem, from the bottom up! Read more about Operation Crayweed at http://www.operationcrayweed.com/
Many people around the world for centuries have known that seaweeds are an excellent fertilizer. Recently people have been reporting another benefit of using seaweeds in their garden, pest control.
When these reports started rolling in, researchers began experimenting on apple orchards, and so far have some conflicting data. One experiment in Washington found mite populations reduced when seaweed extracts were applied to the apples. However, in Vermont, another team found no difference in mite population but did report a reduction of maggots.
While the research remains inconclusive, many garden enthusiasts swear by it. Some claim that the timing of application is important, depending on where you are geographically and the type of pests you encounter.
Liquid seaweed is a common store item that can be used as fertilizer and pest control.
Further research into the mechanisms of these deterrents is needed. If conclusive, seaweeds could be an excellent organic pesticide for home or industrial use.
A new review of bioactive metabolites in seaweeds was just published in Aquaculture. The review focused on carotenoids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, phycocolloids and sterols along with their chemical ecology.
Seaweeds are commonly harvested and consumed because of their high vitamin and antioxident content. However, secondary metabolites are widely used in the pharmaceutical and commercial sector for the production of algae derived phycocolloids like carrageenan, algin, steroids, lectins, agar, and carotenoids.
The review concluded that “seaweeds have a wide range of bioactive secondary metabolites which exhibits different pharmacological activity like anticancer, an-tifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activity. The secondary metabolites obtained from the seaweeds are also widely used as healthier food ingredients in the manufacture of nutraceuticals throughout the world. The presence of diverse pharma-cologically effectual bioactive metabolites in the natural seaweeds makes it unique and indispensable in the identification of lead molecule for the new drug discovery.”
Pseudoscience in food health is extremely prevalent on the internet and social media. Rigorous studies and reviews on bioactives like these can help consumers separate true from perceived health benefits of their food.