Panel discussion on...

Healthy lifestyle

Welcome in the world of alternative meat: analytical challenges and perspectives


Amanda Mackinnon

Marketing & Communications Manager

Marinova Pty Ltd

Below the surface:
​​​​​​​Sustainable marine ingredients

Innovation and motivation in nutritional supplements

Consumers and formulators of nutritional products are hungry for functional ingredients to support healthy ageing. To meet market demand, ingredient suppliers must not only demonstrate their offerings are natural, certified organic and supported by rigorous scientific evidence but are sustainably sourced. In recent years, researchers have turned their attention to the oceans in search of bioactive compounds that tick all these boxes.

Despite the best efforts of scientists, an estimated 90% of marine species remain undescribed (1). Therefore, vast potential exists below the surface to harness biologically active compounds that can support human nutrition. Particular interest exists in macroalgae, commonly known as seaweeds. Not only are seaweeds a nutritious food source, but their unique bioactive constituents are increasingly being utilised in everything from nutraceutical and cosmeceutical products through to biomedical applications and pharmaceutical research.

The seaweed revolution is rapidly gaining momentum. The Global Seaweed Coalition reports that seaweed is the world’s fastest growing food production sector, doubling in size in the 10 years to 2015 (2). The Coalition’s role is to oversee the safety and sustainability of the industry as it aims to scale up and produce 15 times more seaweed by 2050 – a move with the potential to make a significant contribution towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Forward-thinking governments, particularly those with vast coastlines at their disposal, are preparing to embrace a future focussed on marine bioproducts. Australia is a prime example, where $270 million is being invested to create and expand a dynamic and sustainable marine biotechnology industry (3).

A 2023 report published by the World Bank summarised new and emerging global markets for seaweed (4). In exploring the commercial opportunities for seaweed applications, the report identified the utilisation of seaweeds, and seaweed extracts, for nutraceuticals as one of the most promising market growth opportunities. The report noted that seaweeds and their bioactive compounds are predicted to fuel a seaweed nutraceutical market of USD $3.9 billion by 2030.

Naturally occurring bioactive constituents of seaweeds, such as polysaccharides, polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids, lie at the heart of this growth. Fuelled by scientific interest and a burgeoning number of published research studies attesting to their various bioactivities, seaweed compounds are capturing the attention of nutritional formulators worldwide.

Fucoidan is an intriguing example. A class of long chain, sulphated polysaccharides, fucoidans are found naturally in brown seaweeds. Serving to protect the seaweed from marine pathogens and challenging environmental conditions, fucoidans also offer a wide range of potential benefits to human health (5). More than 3500 scientific papers have been published on fucoidan, exploring their bioactivity across health targets ranging from immune support and gut health through to healthy ageing (6) (Search technical articles using the keyword ‘fucoidan’). Like any ingredient, quality and efficacy can vary and not all fucoidan extracts are the same. It is essential that formulators perform due diligence to ensure they are sourcing high purity, certified organic fucoidan that not only has global regulatory acceptance but is sustainably sourced and supported by a transparent supply chain to meet consumer demands.

At the pinnacle of the fucoidan industry are biotechnology leaders innovating on this very front. They supply high purity, efficacious fucoidan extracts that adhere to meticulous quality assurance protocols and safety standards, including HACCP, ISO9001 and GMP accreditations. Some have invested significantly in the development of propriety ‘green chemistry’ extraction technologies to avoid the use of solvents that can potentially degrade the bioactivity of the compound. They also demonstrate a traceable supply chain, from sustainable seaweed harvesting through to packaging and delivery.

Seaweed processing operations have increased markedly in the past 20 years. Most of this increase has been fuelled by seaweed farming. Asia accounts for more than 97% of the world’s seaweed production, and 99% of that seaweed is cultured artificially (7). In comparison to other food crops, seaweed cultivation offers a distinct range of advantages. It does not require fresh water, fertilisation requirements are minimal, and the process can have other ecological benefits including as the removal of excess nutrients and carbon dioxide.

Whilst seaweed farming in polluted waters can help to improve water quality and restore marine ecosystems, the ability of seaweed to absorb heavy metals and other toxins means formulators should proceed with caution. The quality of the source seaweed has a direct influence on the quality of the bioactive compounds contained within it.

For this reason, a number of companies harvesting seaweed, including leading fucoidan producers, choose to focus on wild seaweeds sourced from remote locations. Sourcing well away from potential sources of industrial, human or agricultural contamination ensures seaweeds of unparalleled quality. The sustainable hand-harvesting of wild seaweeds occurs in several countries with remote coastlines, including Argentina, Canada, Scotland, Australia and Norway. Seaweed is a rapidly renewable resource, and wild stocks have been successfully managed by these nations for decades. Some countries are also harvesting invasive seaweed species – not only supporting human health but simultaneously supporting biodiversity in their native marine environments.

Sustainability practices will remain a key element in the future growth of the global seaweed industry. New product formulators can take heed that leading the charge are innovative ingredient suppliers who have already established clear alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals, whilst simultaneously forging biotechnology pathways for the betterment of human health.

Sustainable sourcing

For example, our MenaQ7 Vitamin K2 as MK-7 is recognized for being clinically validated for bone health in children (1) and adults (2), and for cardiovascular health in adults (3,4). Last year, we introduced our new Palm-Free MCT Oil, which exemplifies our commitment to sustainability and quality. Our organically certified MCT Oil is derived exclusively from coconut sources. By making this conscious choice, we ensure we offer a more sustainable solution without compromising quality.

Sustainable processes

Another example is our newest ingredient offering, crafted by fermentation specifically to protect the native Rhodiola botanical species.

Found naturally in high altitudes in Europe and Asia and taking over 20 years to mature, the increasing demand for Rhodiola rosea became the main threat of overharvesting it. To ensure its sustainable harvest and trade, Rhodiola species were added to the CITES list of endangered species. Consequently, developing ecological ways to harness the benefits of Rhodiola has become a key step in preserving this species.

But we can still enjoy the benefits of this miraculous plant through an innovation in manufacturing: our fermentation process bypasses the need to harvest Rhodiola rosea, becoming CITES compliant by design.

Sustainable facilities

Finally, this commitment extends from our production processes to our facilities. Spawning from a desire to re-industrialize the Hainaut region in Northern France and a citizen commitment to rehabilitating a former industrial wasteland (Usinor), the upcoming Denain greenfield plant will create more than 100 jobs.

Our Denain plant will produce Gnosis's chondroitin, which will be unlike anything else currently available. Chondroitin is a recognized solution for reducing joint pain; however, 80% of the chondroitin in the market is manufactured in China, and 100% is produced from animal cartilage. Gnosis's Chondroitin will be produced using a natural fermentation process that is sustainable (bio-sourced in compliance with biodiversity), non-animal, and efficient (high purity and bioavailability).

The choice of the site is in line with the company's commitment: a desire not to artificially develop soils, along with the construction of a diverse 5.9-hectare compensation area for fauna and flora, creation of a 1.2-hectare nature reserve, and construction of habitats for various species.

In closing, human well-being depends on preserving the environment before anything else. This is why we transform microorganisms through natural processes like fermentation, acknowledging the fragility of our planet and striving to preserve it.

Figure 1. Overlaid Representative Chromatograms for PBM (black) and Organic Beef (pink) (6).


Barry Skillington

Chief Commercial Officer - Atlantia
Clinical Trials

Adriana Olivares

Corporate Communications
Director - Bioiberica

Amanda Jepson

Vice President, Business Development - Biova

Andrea Zangara

Head of Scientific Communications and Medical Affairs - Euromed

Magda Starula

Consultant, Health & Beauty - Euromonitor International

Mike Hughes

Head of Research and Insight - FMCG Gurus

Oliver Wolf

Marketing EMEIA - GELITA

Bertrand Rodriguez

Business Development and CSR Director - Gnosis by Lesaffre

Filipa Quintela

Global Marketing Manager, Human Nutrition and Health - Kemin

Celia Martin 

Regulatory Director & Health Ingredients Innovation Manager - Lallemand Bio-Ingredients

Amanda Mackinnon

Marketing & Communications Manager - Marinova Pty Ltd

Cindy Dekeyser

Global Business Intelligence Manager - PB Leiner

Yingying Wu

Global Product Manager Health & Nutrition - PB Leiner

Reyhan Nergiz Unal

Health & Nutrition Science Lead - PB Leiner

Carlos Rodríguez

Communication Manager - Pharmactive Biotech Products, SLU

Federica Carrozzo

Product Manager Nutraceutical - Roelmi HPC

Catarina Ferreira da Silva

Science Integration Manager - Rousselot

Elaine E. Vaughan

Health Science and Regulatory Affairs Leader - Sensus (Royal Cosun)

Veerle Dam

Health Science and Regulatory Affairs Specialist - Sensus (Royal Cosun)

Alice Barbier

Active Ingredients Product Manager - Seppic

Cristiana Piangiolino

Managing Director - SynBalance srl

Suzan Wopereis

Principal Scientist “systems health” - TNO