Meet Klaas Timmermans as one of the Invited speakers at WEFTA 2022.

Klaas Timmermans is an enthusiast seaweed researcher. He is the head of the Department Estuarine and Delta Systems, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). He is also Professor Marine Plant Biomass, Groningen University and Lecturer Aquaculture, HZ University of Applied Sciences. He is founder of seaweed research centres at NIOZ-Texel and NIOZ-Yerseke.
Klaas performs and supervises fundamental scientific research on physiology, genetics and ecology of seaweeds, thereby investigating the possibilities to use seaweeds as producers of food, feed and high value products (e.g. pigments, phytosterols, etc.) in an alternative marine biomass production system that is in balance with the natural marine ecosystem. Publications via ORCID: 0000-0002-3214-4354
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It is a matter of (seaweed) taste

Seaweed as alternative human food source remains popular in NW Europe. The factors determining taste and palatability of different seaweed species are however largely unknown. The key challenge of the INTERREG project ValgOrize was the controlled, sustainable production and processing of high quality, stable, safe algal (seaweed) biomass of known composition with important food features and a good total palatability. For these purposes seaweeds were grown under different conditions, and biochemical and microbiological analyses of seaweeds were combined with the expertise of a specially trained taste panel. Here we report on the effects of growth conditions and (pre)processing on biochemical / microbiological composition and palatability for 3 seaweed species Saccharina latissima and Alaria esculenta (brown seaweeds) and Ulva rigida (green seaweed).

When grown under experimental conditions, the biochemical composition and palatability of the seaweeds could be affected. For example, Ulva grown under nutrient replete conditions taste more bitter than when grown under nitrogen deplete conditions. However, when grown under conditions realistic for seaweed farms, all three species showed remarkable adaptation to different abiotic conditions (e.g. turbulence, light, nutrient availability) leading to rather uniform biochemical composition and taste. In contrast, (pre)processing like method of washing, drying, or freezing had much larger impact on taste and general palatability.

The outcomes of the research in ValgOrize contribute to insight in the possibilities for food producers to have reliable and predictable supply of high quality seaweed biomass and for consumers to have tasty, safe and high quality seaweed products.