Tropical Red Macroalgae Cultivation with a Focus on Compositional Analysis: Article No. 3524

Simona Augyte, Neil Sims, Keelee Martin, Stefanie Van Wychen, Bonnie Panczak, Hannah Alt, Robert Nelson, Lieve Laurens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To create carbon efficient sources of bioenergy feedstocks and feedstuff for aquaculture and terrestrial livestock, it is critical to develop and commercialize the most efficient seaweed cultivation approach with a sustainable nutrient input supply. Here, we present data for a novel, onshore tropical macroalgae cultivation system, based on influent deep seawater as the nutrient and carbon sources. Two red algal species were selected, Agardhiella subulata and Halymenia hawaiiana, as the basis for growth optimization. Highest productivity in small-scale cultivation was demonstrated with A. subulata in the 10% deep seawater (64.7 ug N L-1) treatment, growing at up to 26% specific growth rate day-1 with highest yields observed at 247.5 g m-2 day-1 fresh weight. The highest yields for H. hawaiiana were measured with the addition of 10% deep seawater up to 8.8% specific growth rate day-1 and yields at 63.3 g fresh weight m-2 day-1 equivalent. Biomass should be culled weekly or biweekly to avoid density limitations, which likely contributed to a decrease in SGR over time. With a measured 30-40% carbon content of the ash-free dry weight (20-30% of the dry weight) biomass, this translates to an almost 1:1 CO2 capture to biomass ratio. The compositional fingerprint of the high carbohydrate content of both Agardhiella and Halymenia makes for an attractive feedstock for downstream biorefinery applications. By focusing on scaling and optimizing seaweed farming technologies for large-scale onshore farms, the opportunities for yield potential, adaptability to cultivation conditions, and meeting global sustainability goals through novel, carbon-negative biomass sources such as seaweed can be realized.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages19
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2800-88149


  • aquaculture
  • biorefinery
  • carbon capture
  • compositional analysis
  • feedstock
  • macroalgae
  • polysaccharides


Dive into the research topics of 'Tropical Red Macroalgae Cultivation with a Focus on Compositional Analysis: Article No. 3524'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this