Plant-based Diet Enhanced By The Sea

Seaweed ecologist Dr Sophie Steinhagen inspects the crop at the seafarm in the Koster archipelago in Sweden.

Three months into a beef-free diet, with no temptation to lapse, I am aware that other animal protein is so far a saving grace. When I switch entirely to alternative creatures such as crickets, and to plants including seaweed, I will know the transformation is complete.

Seaweed farming in Sweden could be a vital component of the shift away from eating meat for protein.

Meanwhile, thanks to the Guardian for Richard Orange’s reporting from Malmö on Sea-farmed supercrop: how seaweed could transform the way we live.

From high-protein food to plastics and fuel, Swedish scientists are attempting to tap the marine plant’s huge potential

Steinhagen inspects the tanks in her “seaweed kindergarten”.

You can just see the buoys of the seafarm,” Dr Sophie Steinhagen yells over the high whine of the boat as it approaches the small islands of Sweden’s Koster archipelago. The engine drops to a sputter, and Steinhagen heaves up a rope to reveal the harvest hanging beneath: strand after strand of sea lettuce, translucent and emerald green.

“This is one individual that we would collect now and keep as a parent, because it’s growing very fast,” she exclaims. In summer, these waters teem with sea kayaks and yachts from neighbouring Norway, but for Steinhagen and the seafarming group at the Tjärnö Marine Laboratory, spring is their peak season.

For one thing, it means less animal and plant life on the seaweed. “When you buy a lettuce, you don’t want to have a caterpillar in there. The same is true for seaweed: you don’t want a crab or snail eggs”. More importantly, spring is also when sea lettuce yields the most protein.

In fact, experts believe that seaweed could be a key crop in the “protein shift” away from meat. Some of last spring’s harvest here hit about 30% protein, close to the level that would make it compete against the world’s other big protein sources like meat and soya…

Read the whole article here.

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