Amalia Project


Kick-off meeting at Peniche – AMALIA Project begins

European project will transform a threat of the ocean into an opportunity
Food, feed, new drugs and cosmetics are some of the products to be developed with invasive seaweeds

The increasing appearance of alien seaweeds has been causing considerable ecological and economic problems. These threats can, however, be seen as opportunities and exploited taking into account their industrial potential and the presence of compounds with great potential for use in the food, feed, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. At the same time that it generates value and contributes to the economy, the exploitation and extraction of these algae can contribute to its effective control, contributing to an improvement in the quality of the oceans.

The AMALIA (Algae-to-MArket Labs IdeAs) project, one of four funded by the European Commission under the Blue Labs mechanism, counts on the participation of higher education institutions, research units, companies and local development associations* and aims to value algae in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula and create innovative food products, feeds with the potential to stimulate the immune system of fish and shrimp in aquaculture, extracts for the cosmetic industry and new drugs (with anti-tumour action, for example).

In addition, to monitor the appearance of these invasive seaweeds, advanced engineering and imaging systems and solutions will be integrated into an underwater system that will provide real-time information on the appearance and quantities of algae - thus enabling algae collection mechanisms for the industry before these algae impose major damage in the marine environment.

According to Marco Lemos (project coordinator from the Polytechnic of Leiria), this multidisciplinary approach, with valuable partners of research units together with the companies involved, "will allow the development of sensors and integrate them into a tool for detection of invasive species and management of the oceans, while at the same time enhancing the use of these resources for feed, food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, contributing to EU directives to control these problematic algae while contributing to the economy with products with potential for the European market and export to the Asian market ".

Institutions involved: Polytechnic of Leiria (Portugal); INEGI (Portugal); University of Vigo (Spain); University of Coimbra (Portugal); Algaplus (Portugal); Biomin (Austria); Quest-Innovation (Netherlands); Peniche Development Association (Portugal)