Search on for superior seaweed

Aquaculture North America staff
May 28, 2019
By Aquaculture North America staff
Sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca). The study could pave the way for breeding elite strains of seaweed blooms for aquaculture
Sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca). The study could pave the way for breeding elite strains of seaweed blooms for aquaculture Photo: Adobe Stock
Researchers in Ireland are studying various strains of sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) to determine which one is best suited for aquaculture and agriculture.

Initial results of the study have shown that sea lettuce could return higher yields when the right strains are used. The researchers found growth rates varied from 9 percent to 37 percent per day among the sea lettuce strains studied. Nutritional quality also varied.

More efforts are required to ultimately select the best performing strains under certain environmental conditions.  In the next stage of the study, the researchers will identify the genes responsible for fast growth and high nutritional content.

Sea lettuce has high nutritional value for animal feed.

“This study is an important stepping stone towards the development of modern breeding approaches for seaweedaquaculture,” lead author of the study, Dr Ronan Sulpice of the National University of Ireland, told the school paper.

Co-author Dr Antoine Fort said the study “paves the way towards the domestication and breeding of elite strains of seaweed blooms for aquaculture.”

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