German scientists have predicted that people will soon be eating jellyfish chips, since the marine animal has proven rich in protein and minerals.
Researchers from the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research in Bremen, Germany, have been investigating these hardly-used food resources from the sea and their potential to become part of the human diet.
Because resource scarcity raises major concerns for global food security, the Leibniz Center team focused on more sustainable food sources from the sea.
While jellyfish are known for their sting and tendency to ruin vacations, they have unique nutritional attributes that don’t require much to maintain.
High in protein like salmon and tuna but do not have nearly as much fat. They also have far less demanding diets compared to predatory fish.
Jellyfish consist of around 97 percent water, but their dry matter has an interesting nutritional profile that is similar to other seafood. They are low in fat and consist mainly of proteins, some of which have a high proportion of essential amino acids. They also contain many minerals and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Kunhold theorized that jellyfish could become an “attractive low-calorie superfood” in the form of chips or protein powder.
The Leibniz Center is also investigating other protein sources such as sea cucumbers. There are potentially 1,700 species to be used as food resources in the future.
Scientists say that fertile land, fresh water and mineral fertilizers are becoming increasingly scarce as the world population is expected to reach 10 billion in the next 30 years.
How to cure Jellyfish sting?
A 2017 study published in Toxins concludes that rinsing with vinegar before applying heat is the most effective treatment for jellyfish stings.
Consuming sea cucumbers is considered a delicacy in the autonomous region of Catalonia, Spain. The seafood contains a substance called chondroitin sulfate, which is said to be effective against osteoarthritis.
Imagine – Sea cucumbers are also valuable to marine life because their digestive system sifts through the sandy seabed to soak up nutrients while simultaneously getting rid of pollution. They then excrete fertilizing feces, which is beneficial to the ecosystem.
The team is also investigating green algae which are colloquially known as “sea grape” or “green caviar.” They are small, salty, round balls that burst in the mouth. They are known for their protein, mineral, antioxidant, and polyunsaturated fatty acid content.
It is often served fresh in salads or with sushi. It can be found primarily in Southeast Asia.
According to the scientists, despite their valuable nutritional composition, algae could also be used as waste recyclers for integrated aquaculture because of their ability to feed with dissolved nutrients, as well scientists in Vietnam are currently cooperating with algae farmers to test the use of this alga in integrated aquaculture.
How will they be used?
Marine microalgae-based cellular agriculture is a promising new way to sustainably produce plant-based ‘meat’ and healthy ‘superfoods’ for the future.
Two freshwater microalgal products currently on the market are the high protein Chlorella and Spirulina varieties used in the production of foods such as green pasta, drinks and beverages.
It means that microalgae can be sustainably harvested and converted into eco-friendly superfoods,” she says. “
Putting one and one together, microalgae, innovative production and processing could help to service the world’s booming population and growing demand for sustainable protein production.
Using sunlight, certain varieties of microalgae create oxygen and convert carbon dioxide into organic carbon ( protein, carbohydrates, pigments, fats and fibres ), just like plants, but do not require valuable arable land for their production.
The physicochemical properties of alginate can affect the release profile of encapsulated bioactives, but this is poorly understood. The influence of alginate viscosity (low- A1, medium- A2 and high- A3) and molecular weight (kDa) on the release of encapsulated bioactives (seaweed and spirulina powder) was investigated in an in–vitro gastrointestinal (GSI) model. Beads encapsulated with A2 at 1% (w/v) have overall higher release of bioactives (protein, phlorotannins and antioxidants) but A3 at 0.5% (w/v) was able to release and absorb similar amount of bioactives with ~10% difference with A2. The relative release of protein, phlorotannins and antioxidant was 96%, 111% and 43% respectively from A2 in gastric digestion. In contrast, protein (165%) and phlorotannins (234%) release was highest from A3 in intestinal phase. These results establish the importance of physicochemical properties of the encapsulating matrix on water retention capacity and their interaction with bioactive material to release into the system.
Along with research into processing techniques, the CMBD team is also investigating the use of waste or harvested seaweed for biodegradable plastics production, another sustainable solution to non-degradable petroleum-based plastics.
Australia is responding to growing interest from consumers looking for healthier, more environmentally friendly, sustainable and ethical alternatives to animal proteins.
Marine microalgae, single-cell photosynthetic organisms from the ocean could be the solution to the world’s meat protein shortage, says CMBD director Flinders University Professor Wei Zhang, who is also co-leading a bid to establish a national Marine Bioproducts Cooperative Research Centre (MB-CRC) in Australia.
The CRC’s mission is to find ways to develop the third-generation of Australian high-value marine bioindustry (as opposed to the first-generation of fisheries and the second-generation of aquaculture) and transform Australia’s emerging marine bioproducts sector into a globally competitive industry and the focus will be on industry and market-driven innovations to improve both the supply chain and value chain to deliver costs savings, improved production and competitive capacity for Australia to access high value marine bioproducts markets across the globe.
They are therefore often called the rainforests of the oceans. Using sunlight, photosynthetic microalgae create oxygen and convert carbon dioxide into organic carbon (protein, carbohydrates, pigments, fats, fibres, and micronutrients), just like plants, but do not require valuable arable land for their production.
“Our research spans the entire value chain, from microalgae cultivation and circular advanced biomanufacturing to the development of high-value functional food,” Professor Zhang says.
Microalgae come in a diverse range of nutritional profiles and advanced cultivation strategies can be developed for tuning microalgae to produce protein-, oil- and carbohydrate-dominant types that can be processed into a broad range of functional foods, including healthy cell patties, chips, pastes, jams and even caviar.”
Marine species are of significant interest as they do not require scarce freshwater and crop land. Their unique nutritional profiles such as their high DHA and EPA content (long chain omega 3 fatty acids) are essential for infant and brain development and cardiac health.