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Turning animal feed green: new partnership to develop seaweed potential

David Beattie, KTP associate
"Seaweeds have the potential to provide greener feeds to support Scotland’s enviable reputation as a producer of high-quality meats"

A new Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) involving the James Hutton Institute and Davidsons Animal Feeds is exploring the possibilities of protein-rich UK seaweeds to replace some currently used ingredients in the production of ruminant animal feeds, with associated benefits in terms of meat quality and a reduced carbon footprint.

It is well-known that seaweeds are eaten by ruminants in the wild. There is considerable evidence of improvement in meat quality and health in animals fed with seaweed. This KTP project aims to pinpoint the ideal seaweeds for use in ruminant feeds based on their nutritional value, with a particular interest in protein content. This could reduce our reliance on produce imported from overseas.

KTPs create a dynamic three-way partnership between a company, a talented Graduate (the KTP Associate who acts as the Project Manager) and an expert academic team - here, the James Hutton Institute. Dr Gordon McDougall, a research scientist in its Environmental and Biochemical Sciences group in Dundee, said seaweeds have the potential to provide greener feeds to support Scotland’s enviable reputation as a producer of high-quality meats. 

“Increased cultivation of seaweeds in the UK may help bolster our coastal communities by providing a new source of income. In addition, seaweed-plus feeds may bring other nutritional benefits as they are rich in vitamins and minerals,” Dr McDougall said. 

Over the next 3 years, KTP Associate David Beattie will work from a selection of candidate seaweeds of appropriate dietary suitability to produce prototype feeds at suitable volumes using Davidsons state-of-the-art feed mill.

Commenting on the project, David said: “I see this project as an exciting opportunity to be involved in such multifaceted research. Whilst I'll be relying on my scientific knowledge to analyse candidate seaweeds for feed production, I'll also be able to develop new skills in market research and product development.”

Jim Berryman, Knowledge Transfer Adviser at the Knowledge Transfer Network which delivers the KTP programme, added “KTPs provide a very useful mechanism to link ideas and expertise to enable innovation, and this is a particularly exciting initiative responding to the ever more urgent need to seek environmentally-conscious solutions to a wide variety of challenges."

David Beattie will be presenting progress on the project at the prestigious SEAGRICULTURE conference in Ostend, Belgium later this month.

Notes to editors

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) have been helping businesses innovate for growth for over 40 years. KTPs create a collaborative three-way partnership between a company, an expert academic team and a suitably qualified graduate (known as the KTP Associate) who acts as the project manager. This collaboration is designed to help accelerate innovation and embed new knowledge and skills. KTPs are funded by UK Research & Innovation through Innovate UK and delivered by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).

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Printed from /news/turning-animal-feed-green-new-partnership-develop-seaweed-potential on 22/02/24 09:05:24 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.