MBL is pleased to be starting a relationship with another respected Scottish academic institution, the James Hutton Institute or JH, in the shape of a 3 year PhD project which will focus on the technical development of seaweed components with significant commercial potential. This work will help MBL progress towards its overall goal of becoming a market leader in Multi-component Seaweed Extraction. The initial emphasis in the project work, which will be carried out by a student moving from Portugal to Dundee in Scotland, will be in the area of anti-oxidant molecules (poly-phenols) which can be found at surprisingly high levels in sone seaweed species.
Zero Waste Scotland, or ZWS a Scottish Government department, is very active in a Scottish context in both reducing waste produced in Scotland, but more importantly in adding value to such waste. As a key SME in the marine sector in Scotland, MBL is at the forefront of creating value out of seaweed raw materials, including outputs from alginate production which would historically be regarded as waste, and it is pleased to have been awarded a support grant from ZWS for a project which will focus on the market opportunities arising from added value seaweed origin products.
Through its involvement as a partner in the EU supported SeaBioTech project, MBL takes part in the European Marine Natural Products Conference (EMNPC) in Glasgow, including a pre-conference day devoted to encouraging young people to develop a career in not just science, but marine science in particular.
Although this work is never really finished as such, it is nevertheless very encouraging to report that one year on from a very conscious start to more in-depth work in this area, excellent progress has been demonstrated in other seaweed components, in the first instance those based around (seaweed origin) cellulose; the quality of such materials now being realised on a pilot scale is ground breaking in the context of an alginate process being at the core of the total technical effort and as an additional bonus, better quality alginate has also been seen as well.
To enable it to formalise progress and applications (planning and environmental) for its first alginate facility in Argyll, MBL successfully raises close to £0.5m of new investment funding from both existing and new investors, including Scottish Investment Bank (SIB)
Explaining the role of, and challenges faced by, SMEs in the Industrial Biotech sphere, MBL presents at the 1st Annual Conference of IBioIC in Glasgow, which is attended by close to 300 delegates from not just the UK but also from a range of other countries.