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Research Call

DAFM Reference


DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2014 14/SF/860 MI, (NUIG) €277.437

Project Title:

Arsenic in Marine Macroalgae and Implications for Commercial Uses

Project Coordinator:

Dr Evin McGovern

Project Abstract

There is major potential for expanding the exploitation of our natural seaweed resources to provide products and materials for the food sector, for fertiliser and feed, in biotechnology and for many other applications. Arsenic can accumulate to high levels in seaweeds. It is typically present as organoarsenicals whose toxicity, though not well characterised is much less than for inorganic arsenic. However, non-compliance of algal-based feed products with EC regulatory limits for total arsenic presents a problem for the industry. Moreover, recent evidence shows high levels of toxic arsenic can occur in certain parts of kelps. This project will establish a reliable and simple analytical methodology for determination of inorganic arsenic in seaweed. Using this method, we will determine the variability of total and inorganic arsenic in various commercially relevant species and investigate intra-plant variation. We will also investigate, for example using transplant studies, the environmental factors that influence total and inorganic arsenic concentrations. Finally, we will investigate the effect of processing and storage on arsenic speciation in brown seaweeds. This information will support industry in developing strategies to minimise arsenic concentrations in products and assist policy makers in risk management and developing practical regulation for consumer protection.

Final Report:

Not available yet.