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Process and economic feasibility for the production of functional food from the brown alga Ecklonia radiata
- Charoensiddhi, Suvimol, Lorbeer, Andrew J., Franco, Christopher M.M., Su, Peng, Conlon, Michael A., Zhang, Wei
- Algal research 2018 v.29 pp. 80-91
- Ecklonia radiata, batch systems, beverages, economic feasibility, fractionation, functional foods, macroalgae, molecular weight, plant extracts, profitability
- This article provides a case-study for the simulated industrial-scale production of high-value functional food products from the brown seaweed Ecklonia radiata. Three process scenarios at a batch processing scale of 2000kg seaweed were assessed for their economic feasibility: Scenario 1: Enzyme-assisted production of a crude seaweed extract; Scenario 2: Scenario 1, followed by fractionation based on different molecular weights (MW); Scenario 3: Ethanolic extraction, followed by enzyme-assisted extraction and separation into high and low MW fractions. Scenario 2 demonstrated greater profitability, with a payback time of 1.6years and a net present value (NPV) twice that of Scenario 1 (2.1years and US$ 45.03M). Scenario 3 was not economically feasible, with a negative NPV and payback time that was three times longer than Scenario 1. To improve profitability, Scenario 4 was assessed, which integrated Scenario 1 (at the batch processing scale of 500kg seaweed) with formulation of the extract as a functional ingredient into a juice-based beverage. This process was more profitable than Scenario 1, with a payback time and NPV of 1.1years and US$ 89.43M, respectively.