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Department of Chemistry

Publication details for Dr Philip W. Dyer

Gallagher, Joe A., Turner, Lesley B., Adams, Jessica M. M., Barrento, Sara, Dyer, Philip W. & Theodorou, Michael K. (2018). Species variation in the effects of dewatering treatment on macroalgae. Journal of Applied Phycology 30(4): 2305-2316.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Seaweeds can be a valuable resource for biorefinery and biotechnology applications, but their high water content is a recurrent problem and one of the key bottlenecks for their sustainable use. Treatments to increase dry matter content of the kelp Laminaria digitata were recently described by the authors. However macroalgae are an extremely diverse group of organisms and compositional variation between species may influence the effects of particular treatments. In this study, potential dewatering treatments including drying, osmotic media, and the application of both organic and mineral acids all followed by screw-pressing have been tested on two other species of kelp (Laminaria hyperborea and Saccharina latissima) and a red seaweed (Palmaria palmata). Conditions that dewatered these species were identified and the data have been combined with the previous results for L. digitata. There were significant differences between species across all the traits of interest. However dewatering was highly dependent on specific interactions with both treatment and season of collection. Nevertheless, the dry matter content of brown seaweeds was widely and successfully increased by air drying or acid treatment followed by screw-pressing. The results for P. palmata were quite different, particularly with regard to juice production. For this species, acid treatment did not result in dewatering, but dry matter content could be increased by screw-pressing immediately after harvest. Together the data presented here demonstrate that dewatering pre-treatments need to be specific for the type of seaweed to be processed; important knowledge for the future use of this sustainable biomass resource.