Knowledge for a sustainable world

Research Group:
Aquatic Biotechnology and Biology

In the aquatic biotechnology and biology group we study a wide range of topics concerned with the sustainable use of water resources under changing climatic conditions.

Microalgae – from salt water to scale-up

To maintain current consumption trends the world needs to produce 50-70% more food by 2050. Microalgae as the primary producers of the marine food web are an underexploited resource. They consume more CO2 than they produce, they grow faster than any other plant, and they can be grown in extreme environments to serve as a source of bioactive compounds, antioxidants and pigments; plant protein with all Essential Amino Acids, and polyunsaturated lipids enriched in omega-3 essential fatty acids.

  • What are the genotype-environment controls of metabolic flux?
  • What factors contribute ‘taste’ in algae?
  • How can we cultivate and process microalgal biomass sustainably and in scale-up to serve as a source of tasty, natural food additives, as anti-microbial agents in feed and for nutricosmetics enriched with anti-oxidants?
 Saline lake with Dunaliella salina   Dunaliella salina  150L cultivation  400L cultivation


Macroalgae - a sustainable resource for future biofuel and green chemicals

Macroalgae or seaweed hold enormous potential (>100,000 species) to help transform and future-proof our food, feed, chemicals and biofuel systems but less than 200 species of algae are used worldwide. Floating Sargassum in the open ocean is a tremendous ecological and climate resource, but enormous beach inundations, or golden tides, are causing economic and environmental challenges

  • Can we process Sargassum sustainably to deliver antioxidants, sulphated compounds, halogenated compounds and phenols?
  • Can Sargassum inundations serve as a biofuel resource?
  • Can we change these golden tides into a golden opportunity?
Sargassum muticum in the sea Sargassum muticum on the beach Sargassum muticum


Health of aquatic animals

We work to understand and improve the health of aquatic animal species, in particular marine and freshwater fish.

  • How do environmental factors such as climate change affect the immunocompetence of fish both in vitro and in vivo?
  • Can nutraceuticals be applied to improve health and welfare in aquaculture settings?
  • With improved understanding of the chemical ecology of fish, can we develop novel disease detection methods?
Turbot larvae (Scophthalmus maximus) Project leader Apoptotic fish cells


Professor Patricia J Harvey Professor Patricia J Harvey Professor of Biochemistry, Head of Aquatic Biotechnology and Biology, Director of Biomed Online This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.