Breeding kelp for efficient and sustainable utilization of marine resources (Breed4Kelp2Feed)

Breeding kelp for efficient and sustainable utilization of marine resources (Breed4Kelp2Feed)

Breed4Kelp2Feed aims to initiate breeding of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima, a marine brown macroalgae) designed for sustainable production of high yields.

prosjekt

About/Aims
Background

Breed4Kelp2Feed aims to initiate breeding of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima, a marine brown macroalgae) designed for sustainable production of high yields. In addition to providing food, feed and highly valued chemicals, cultivation of kelp contributes to carbon binding in the oceans. Cultivation of kelp is rapidly expanding worldwide, and Norway, with its extremely long coastline and well-established aquaculture industry, has a huge potential for value creation from kelp cultivation. Currently, only natural populations of kelp is cultivated in Norway, and there is a great potential to exploit genetic variation to produce material with improved characteristics from a cultivation and usage point of view, such as higher growth rate and biomass production, higher protein content, resistance to epiphytes or pathogenic organisms, low content of iodine or other minerals. Genetic improvement has been instrumental for establishing a cost-effective salmon industry in Norway, and breeding of kelp is likely to play a similar role for the future aquaculture industry. Kelps are important habitat-forming species in marine ecosystems, and measures to prevent any harmful effects of kelp cultivation on natural kelp populations must be considered and implemented if required. One such measure may be the development and cultivation of sterile, non-reproductive kelp that cannot hybridize with natural populations. 

Objective

Our goals are to: 1) develop triploid and sterile sporophytes of S. latissima, 2) identify the most optimal breeding program for kelp, 3) test the feasibility and outcome of a simple breeding program based on local populations, and 4) obtain knowledge on the genetics of S. latissima. 

More about the project

Breed4Kelp2Feed is linked to the Centre of Research-based Innovation (SFI) Foods of Norway, based at NMBU. We are collaborating with Sintef Ocean, Seaweed Solutions and Flanders Research Institute on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) on this project.