Experts from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences will share their knowledge of how to best culture and grow macroalgae (seaweeds) at the Maine Seaweed Festival on the Southern Maine Community College’s campus during a day-long event on Saturday, Aug. 30 beginning at 10 a.m. The festival is designed to highlight the diverse uses and benefits of seaweed and to celebrate those who harvest it and are working to create a viable and vibrant seaweed industry in Maine.
“We’re pleased to be part of the first Maine Seaweed Festival for it’s a great way to bring together everyone who can help expand the seaweed market into a viable addition to Maine’s maritime-based economy,” said Dr. Michael Lomas, head of the National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA), a service center of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay. “Through our research here at Bigelow Laboratory, we are able to provide seaweed-related industries with advice on which strains to select, and how best to grow them, and then provide them with starter products.”
The NCMA houses the largest and most diverse repository of living marine microalgae in the world. The collection also consists of 159 strains of marine macroalage collected from the Antarctic peninsula to the coast of Norway. The NCMA provides starter cultures to those working to develop new sources for food, animal feed, fertilizers, natural products, nutritional supplements, and pharmaceuticals.
Alongside the NCMA, Bigelow Analytical Services (BAS) offers a fee-for service analytical capability providing services for researchers, industry and state regulators. BAS comprises a suite of modern, high-tech analytical instruments in state-of-the-art laboratory facilities that can provide information on seawater nutrient composition along the coast of Maine and on the identity and quantity of key components of the nutritional and commercial value of seaweeds. Additionally, laboratory space for industrial collaboration and a continuously flowing seawater system for macroalgae pilot trials are available onsite.
“We are committed to the state of Maine and helping to develop the seaweed industry into a more robust one,” Lomas said.