Aquaculture for all

Researchers Search the Seas for Nutraceuticals

IRELAND - Scientists are looking to the sea for healthy foods at a meeting of NutraMara in Dublin.

Identifying and exploiting natural marine resources for use in foods for health, was the topic for discussion by leading scientists at the Teagasc Ashtown Food Research Centre in Dublin yesterday (14 October).

NutraMara is a marine functional foods joint research initiative, led by Teagasc Ashtown Food Research Centre and funded by the Marine Institute and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Launched in April 2008, the initiative is led by Declan Troy, Teagasc Ashtown, and involves collaboration of up to 30 scientists working in Teagasc Moorepark Food Research Centre, University College Cork, University College Dublin, NUI Galway, University of Limerick and the University of Ulster.

NutraMara aims to identify novel marine food ingredients and products, allowing Ireland to become players in what is already a $74 billion worldwide market for functional foods. Researchers are isolating, characterising and incorporating marine derived functional ingredients into food products. Consequently, they will access the activities of these marine bioactive compounds in animal and human models.

The event provides an update for those working in the industry on developments in the NutraMara project. Those attending include Irish nutraceutical and cosmaceutical companies, marine producers and processors and those involved in aquaculture in Ireland.

Nutramara is focussing on three potential sources of health promoting compounds, namely the use of fish processing waste, under-utilised species of fish and seaweed, and the development of value-added products from aquaculture – both for finfish and shellfish.

A number of European success stories in the area of marine functional foods development were presented. Dr Joop Luten from Nofima in Norway will present successes in relation to exploiting marine resources as a source of compounds for functional foods. It is expected that opportunities can be generated for Irish companies to develop their marine Research and Development capacity. The industry day in Ashtown showcased research highlights arising from the project with presentations from each of the institutes involved.

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