Food security is a global challenge and as overall demand for food increases, there is an urgent need to increase the protein supply from sustainable sources. FAO estimated a growth of 1.7 % annually up to 2050 for animal proteins. Currently, more than 80% of the protein requirements for livestock rearing in the EU is imported from non-EU countries. At the same time climate-induced shifts will increase the cost of animal protein and feed due to an increased demand for land and water. Seaweed are a potential protein source (crude protein concentration may reach 34% of dry matter depending on species and harvest time), which could contribute to freeing up land to grow crops for direct consumption by the human populace and lead to a concomitant increase in food security. Seaweed, are rich in phlorotannins (bioactive compounds), able to optimise animal nutrition, reduce environmental impact (methane emissions), improve animal health and food quality (increase healthy fatty acids, flavour, colour of meat and milk). This project will focus on ruminants and investigate the key mechanisms by which seaweed containing these bioactive compounds (i) improve nitrogen utilisation, (ii) reduce environmental emissions and (iii) improve quality of animal products.
Specific skills/experience required by applicants: