This project is aligned with the National Seaweed Industry Blueprint. There is an opportunity for rapid expansion of the industry to produce high-value products for domestic and export markets spanning animal feed, fertiliser, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, and to make significant progress on mitigating Australia’s carbon emissions.
One of the major bottlenecks for the development of a seaweed industry in Australia is access to inoculum or seedstock for scaling up of mass cultivation. The need for a seedbank or hatchery with continual improvement of family lines or cultivars and development of disease-free seed stock have been identified as priorities by the industry.
Various hatchery techniques can be implemented to meet the growing demand for high-quality and high-throughput seedstock for land-based and at-sea cultivation systems. These include sporulation, micropropagation and vegetative propagation. Additionally, breeding techniques can be implemented for genetically improved strains through sporulation, ensuring better quality inoculum and enhancing biomass yield, while reducing costs associated with sourcing, transportation and processing of seedstock.
This project has set up a hatchery for commercially important seaweed taxa such as Asparagopsis, Ecklonia, Ulva, Gracillaria and others. The hatchery is developing region-specific genetic lines of seedstock to benefit seaweed farmers operating in different bioregions.
- Collection of biological material (spores, sorus, vegetative fragments, etc.) from various bioregions for select seaweed taxa
- Developing hatchery technology that includes techniques such as tissue culture, vegetative propagation, sporulation and settlement, protoplast technology and others
- Evaluating seaweed propagules on at-sea and land-based leases of industry collaborators
- Technology transfer to industry collaborators for commercialisation.