SeaFEED is a multidisciplinary marine project featuring chemists, biologists, and engineers from Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Limerick, and ATU Sligo. This €1.2 million cross border study, funded by the respective environment agencies in both Northern Ireland (DAERA) and the Republic of Ireland (DAFM), aims to develop an alternative pig feed ingredient to replace zinc oxide which was outlawed in high dosages by the EU in 2022. Now considered a major contaminant, zinc oxide was previously used to prevent diarrhoea and animal diseases in piglets.
At Queen’s University Marine Laboratory, we are using our long standing macroalgal cultivation facilities and test site in Strangford Lough to investigate the use of natural fucoid seaweed ingredients as an alternative to zinc oxide (see picture). With the input of five industry partners from meat producers to seaweed farmers, this study will explore the entire value chain from cultivating, harvesting, and collecting seaweed biomass, to downstream processing of seaweeds and the green separation technologies used to produce seaweed feed ingredients with antimicrobial properties. Finally, we will also investigate the overall environmental impact of using seaweeds in the animal feed industry and the green credentials of the drying and separation processes.
We hope that SeaFEED will lead to the development of a more sustainable and all-island circular economy.
This work is in collaboration with: