Bioactive compounds in farm-raised sea vegetables

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2015: $7,616.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2016
Grant Recipient: University of Maine
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Denise Skonberg
University of Maine

Annual Reports


  • Vegetables: greens (leafy)


  • Production Systems: aquaponics

    Proposal abstract:

    Several species of seaweeds, aka sea vegetables, are currently being commercially tested in Maine for their aquaculture potential. However, the lack of product, process, and market development have already been identified as significant bottlenecks to the sustainable growth of a vibrant sea vegetable industry in the Northeast. Foods high in bioactive compounds such as antioxidants, in particular, attract consumers in today’s marketplace and are key drivers for purchase intent of fresh fruits and vegetables. Since no prior work has been reported on aquacultured fresh sea vegetables, the aim of this study is to provide farmers in the Northeast with baseline data on bioactive compounds of fresh sea vegetables. Four species of farm raised sea vegetables, including sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima), dulse (Palmaria palmata), Gracilaria, and winged kelp, Alaria, grown in Clark Cove, Maine, will be assessed for total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity. Given the need to develop diverse, value-added products for the market, bioactives will be assessed in different plant tissues (blades and stipes), and the effects of blanching and freezing will also be assessed. These results will benefit producers as they begin to process, brand, and market farm-raised sea vegetables in the Northeast.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The overall goal of this proposed project is to support the fledgling sea vegetable industry in the Northeast by providing information critical to the development of marketable, high value products. Results from this study will provide information on the effects of sea vegetable species, edible tissue (blade vs. stipe), and minimal processing (fresh/blanched/frozen) on selected health promoting properties of farm raised sea vegetables.


    Objective 1: To determine total phenolic content (TPC) and antioxidant capacity in four species of fresh farm raised sea vegetables.


    Objective 2: To determine the effects of minimal processing (blanching and freezing) on the stability of TPC and antioxidant capacity of the sea vegetables.


    Objective 3: To determine if any significant differences exist in TPC and antioxidant capacity between blade and stipe portions of the sea vegetables.


    Objective 4: To compare the data for farm raised products with data for wild harvested sea vegetables in the scientific literature


    Objective 5: To communicate research results to interested members of the aquaculture and seafood communities in the Northeast region.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.