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NutraMara Conference to Highlight Potential of Marine Resources for Functional Food

A major international conference on the potential of marine resources, including seaweeds, aquaculture, microalgae and marine processing by-products, as a source of functional food ingredients will take place in Dublin later this month. The 2012 NutraMara Conference will take place at the Castleknock Hotel and Country Club, Dublin on 25th and 26th of April, and will be officially opened by the President of Ireland, Dr Michael D Higgins.

Among the research that will be presented at the conference are studies on the use of seaweed carbohydrates in the treatment of obesity and the use of microalgae and seafood processing waste as a source of novel food and health ingredients.

Organised by Teagasc and the NutraMara Consortium, the conference will bring together companies from Ireland’s food sector, researchers and policy makers to learn about the latest developments in marine functional foods research.

Speaking in advance of the conference Declan Troy, Director of NutraMara and Assistant Director of Food Research in Teagasc said “The global market for functional foods is expected to reach $176 billion by 2013 - this demand for functional foods is a driver for research into novel ingredients with demonstrated health benefits. The research carried out by NutraMara’s scientists will help Irish companies to secure a share of this global market”.

According to Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute, “Ireland’s seafood sector already contributes over €700 million to the economy and supports 11,000 jobs and the potential to grow this is significant”.

“Ireland is well positioned to excel in this area with our 220 million acre marine resource supporting a variety of habitats and species and an internationally recognised research capability in marine sciences and food research. Research in the areas of “Food for Health” and “Sustainable Food Production and Processing” were recently highlighted as targets for public investment in the Governments’ Research Prioritisation Report, as a result of our demonstrated expertise in these areas and because of the real potential for these sectors to deliver jobs”.

NutraMara supports the objectives of Food Harvest 2020 – a vision for Irish agri-food and fisheries and the strategic research agenda of Food Research Ireland which sets out to meet the needs of Ireland’s food sector through research and innovation for the next decade.

The Marine Functional Foods Research Initiative (NutraMara) was established in 2008 by the Marine Institute and the Department of Agriculture Food and Marine to build new expertise in the area of marine functional foods research. NutraMara is a research consortium led by Teagasc and including researchers at NUI Galway; University College, Cork; University College, Dublin; University of Limerick and the University of Ulster, Coleraine.

The conference has a strong international dimension with presentations by researchers in Iceland (Matis), France (IFREMER), Spain (CETMAR), Canada ( the Marine Institute of Newfoundland) Australia, Norway and The Netherlands.