• Aquaculture Production of the Brown Seaweeds Laminaria digitata and Macrocystis pyrifera: Applications in Food and Pharmaceuticals

      Purcell-Meyerink, Diane; Packer, Michael A.; Wheeler, Thomas T.; Hayes, Maria; Teagasc; European Union; 754380 (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021-02-28)
      Seaweeds have a long history of use as food, as flavouring agents, and find use in traditional folk medicine. Seaweed products range from food, feed, and dietary supplements to pharmaceuticals, and from bioenergy intermediates to materials. At present, 98% of the seaweed required by the seaweed industry is provided by five genera and only ten species. The two brown kelp seaweeds Laminaria digitata, a native Irish species, and Macrocystis pyrifera, a native New Zealand species, are not included in these eleven species, although they have been used as dietary supplements and as animal and fish feed. The properties associated with the polysaccharides and proteins from these two species have resulted in increased interest in them, enabling their use as functional foods. Improvements and optimisations in aquaculture methods and bioproduct extractions are essential to realise the commercial potential of these seaweeds. Recent advances in optimising these processes are outlined in this review, as well as potential future applications of L. digitata and, to a greater extent, M. pyrifera which, to date, has been predominately only wild-harvested. These include bio-refinery processing to produce ingredients for nutricosmetics, functional foods, cosmeceuticals, and bioplastics. Areas that currently limit the commercial potential of these two species are highlighted
    • Biotechnological applications of functional metagenomics in the food and pharmaceutical industries

      Coughlan, Laura M.; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Alvarez-Ordonez, Avelino; Science Foundation Ireland; 13/SIRG/2157 (Frontiers Media S. A., 30/06/2015)
      Microorganisms are found throughout nature, thriving in a vast range of environmental conditions. The majority of them are unculturable or difficult to culture by traditional methods. Metagenomics enables the study of all microorganisms, regardless of whether they can be cultured or not, through the analysis of genomic data obtained directly from an environmental sample, providing knowledge of the species present, and allowing the extraction of information regarding the functionality of microbial communities in their natural habitat. Function-based screenings, following the cloning and expression of metagenomic DNA in a heterologous host, can be applied to the discovery of novel proteins of industrial interest encoded by the genes of previously inaccessible microorganisms. Functional metagenomics has considerable potential in the food and pharmaceutical industries, where it can, for instance, aid (i) the identification of enzymes with desirable technological properties, capable of catalyzing novel reactions or replacing existing chemically synthesized catalysts which may be difficult or expensive to produce, and able to work under a wide range of environmental conditions encountered in food and pharmaceutical processing cycles including extreme conditions of temperature, pH, osmolarity, etc; (ii) the discovery of novel bioactives including antimicrobials active against microorganisms of concern both in food and medical settings; (iii) the investigation of industrial and societal issues such as antibiotic resistance development. This review article summarizes the state-of-the-art functional metagenomic methods available and discusses the potential of functional metagenomic approaches to mine as yet unexplored environments to discover novel genes with biotechnological application in the food and pharmaceutical industries.