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Maritime Forum
News article9 April 2024Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries3 min read

Putting the spotlight on PhD thesis from the University of Gothenburg and company uFraction8 who are actively contributing to enhancing algae-related innovations!

On the Insider’s Perspective, we give visibility to EU4Algae members’ key research findings, business opportunities and innovations relevant to the algae sector. 

This initiative aims to ‘give the floor’ to all partners to share their projects and success stories and disseminate them with the Algae community. Keep reading to know more about the latest projects that are part of this fifth edition! 


PhD thesis from the University of Gothenburg: Putting innovative cultivation methods for protein production to good use 


Kristoffer Stedt at the Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, is investigating seaweeds as a future source of protein in a recent PhD thesis. His work is part of the FORMAS-funded project CirkAlg that aims to investigate a novel nutrient loop where process waters from selected food industries are explored as media for tank-cultivated seaweeds and to apply scalable techniques to concentrate the seaweed proteins into nutritious, sensorial attractive, and safe food ingredients. 

In this context, Kristoffer Stedt’s thesis 'Seaweeds as a future protein source: innovative cultivation methods for protein production', examined the protein content of four seaweed species. Early on, the green seaweed sea lettuce proved a candidate worth looking at more closely. The seaweed is fast-growing and varies in protein content depending on where it grows. This makes it possible to increase the protein content through the nutrient composition of the water in which it is cultivated. 


“I collected sea lettuces from sea farms and cultivated them in processed water from the food industry. After two weeks in the nutrient-rich water, the protein content had more than doubled”, stated Kristoffer Stedt. 



Sea lettuce grown on the west coast of Sweden has a protein content of around 15% in dry weight. However, cultivating the seaweed in process water increased its crude protein content to 30-37%, like soybeans. One challenge, however, is that the proteins in seaweeds are tightly bound. Therefore, the proteins could be more easily accessible to the body if extracted from seaweed, which Kristoffer Stedt's colleagues at Chalmers University of Technology are also investigating in the CirkAlg project.  



The findings from the CirkAlg project show that seaweeds can become a promising alternative food source in the ongoing dietary protein shift. The safety aspects of consuming the biomass were also confirmed by showing that large quantities can be consumed daily without exceeding health-based reference points for heavy metals. Having said that, the work illustrates a novel nutrient loop, where the disposal of industrial food production process waters can be turned into nutrient-rich and valuable biomass through seaweed cultivation. 




uFraction8: Sustainably building the future with continuous bioprocesses with the use of microalgae 


uFraction8 is a group of companies founded by Dr Monika Tomecka and Dr Brian Miller which develops microfluidics-based filter systems as a solution to help bio-manufacturers harvest their products with energy-efficient and scalable bioprocessing systems. 

This novel approach of using hydrodynamic phenomena as a new filtration mechanism allows to outcompete conventional filters and centrifuges in key areas. In that sense, uFraction8 follows BioTech and CleanTech trends and focuses on simplifying industrial processes that use cell cultures to produce food, biopharmaceuticals and other bio-based products and chemicals. 


uFraction8 developed an industrially scalable bio-separation instrument that helps to produce more biomass from the same infrastructure, with less energy and cost and to solve the problems with harvesting and processing of cell cultures, starting with microalgae and cultivated meat and developing into other cell-based productions such as precision fermentation, cellular agriculture and biopharma. uFraction8’s technology is ready for final tests and commercialisation. 



Continued interactions with the microalgae market showcase: 

  • Expansion of uFraction8’s datasets collected from demonstrations with microalgae producers. 

  • uFraction8’s scale up with 10,000L of microalgae biomass. 

  • Enablement of continuous manufacturing for microalgae biomass. 

Learn more:

General publications9 April 2024


uFraction8 is a multi-award-winning company recognised for its innovative technology and highly capable team. Awards have come from prestigious international organizations leading the development of new technologies and impactful research such as Horizon 2020, InnovateUK, European Innovation Council, Nature Publications, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Institute of Chemical Engineers amongst many others.   




Publication date
9 April 2024
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries