Australia holds seminar to focus on seaweed industry

[Australia] The future of Australia’s seaweed industry will be the focus of a public seminar in Adelaide next week.

Flinders University’s Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development will hold its annual Marine Biotechnology public seminar on Monday, March 23, as part of its community engagement towards creating a ‘blue economy’ in South Australia.

Guest speakers Dr Pia Winberg and Dr Suhelen Egan are Australian seaweed experts in the field of marine food production systems and marine microbial ecology respectively.

Dr Winberg, CEO of Venus Shell Systems, is the editor of Seaweeds Australia and a former leading researcher on seaweed aquaculture and estuarine systems who will speak on the topic of “seaweeds industry in Australia: past, present and future”.

Dr Egan, an ARC Future Fellow at the Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation, the University of New South Wales, will talk about the interactions between seaweeds and microbes and seaweed diseases.

The Director of Flinders University’s Centre for Marine Bioproducts, Professor Wei Zhang, said the seminar would discuss the historical development and future potential of the seaweed industry in Australia, especially focusing on whether a seaweed aquaculture and processing industry could be developed for a range of product developments and applications.

Professor Zhang said seaweed-derived extracts and polysaccharides were already commonly used in goods as diverse as toothpaste, skin care products, paint, ice cream and salad dressing.

“Their unique nutritional and functional properties have pushed applications in many products including pharmaceuticals, biofuels and biomaterials,” he said.

“South Australia has the world’s greatest seaweed diversity, especially in high-value brown and red seaweeds, however the industrial applications have been poorly developed in Australia.”

The Marine Biotechnology seminar will be held at Flinders University City Campus, Victoria Square starting at 8.15am.


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