Are you interested in fire? Interdisciplinary course at master's level

With increased population growth, food security for the future must be ensured, while at the same time taking care of the impact on the environment and climate. Food derived from fire has one of the lowest carbon footprints of animal products, and especially food that comes from the lower levels of the food chain. There are, for example, oysters, mussels and abalone. This and more is discussed in the new online course offered by UiT Norges arktiske universitet (The Arctic University of Norway). The course is interdisciplinary and at master's level.

The course opens on April 3rd, it is free and open to everyone.

The course covers a wide range of issues related to fire at the lower levels of the food chain. The biology and ecology of the main species, environmental impact, sustainability, economics and more are discussed. Students with different knowledge and experience should therefore all be able to find something that suits them. The course is based on short lectures in the form of videos, assignments and reading materials. Once the students have completed the course, they can receive a certificate to that effect from UiT.

The course was created as part of AquaVitae project, but it is a European project, funded by the Horizon 2020 (Grant Agreement No 818173) program of the European Union, with the aim of increasing the importance of farming at lower levels. Matís is part of both the project and the development team of the course.

Find out more about the course, here.

For more information, you can contact Katrína Hulda Gunnarsdóttir, an expert at Matís


Green steps in Matís' operation

It is gratifying to report that the first Green step has been achieved at Matís. The implementation of Green Steps in Matís' operations began at the beginning of 2022, and the first step was approved by the Environment Agency last Thursday, March 16.  

The green steps are a total of five steps. Steps 1-4 are grouped into seven categories, each of which has a different number of actions to fulfill. The last step, step 5, concerns only the environmental management of the workplace, divided into six elements and actions.  

The implementation of Green Steps at Matís does not only extend to our headquarters in Reykjavík, but all establishments must participate, in all categories and functions.

In step 1, we are starting a journey towards more environmentally friendly advantages, thinking and actions regarding Matís' operations. For example, the home ownership association needs to be informed about this journey, but it is also key to introduce the requirements of the steps to purchasing partners, storekeepers, cleaners/cleaning companies, the kitchen as well as all other establishments and staff.  

The requirements of the steps are, among other things, that procurement partners always trade products, i.e. there are some advantages that have environmental certification. In this connection, it is important to know well the certification marks that are recognized and under strict quality standards.  

The goal of Green Steps is to:  

  • Reduce the negative environmental impact of Matís' operations 
  • Promote the environmental awareness of staff 
  • Increase the well-being of staff and improve the working environment  
  • Reduce operating costs 
  • Implement priorities in environmental matters 
  • Actions in environmental matters are visible

The Green Steps team at Matís consists of the following passionate minds: Ásta Heiðrún Pétursdóttir, Anna Berg Samúelsdóttir, Birgir Örn Smárason, Eva Margrét Jónudóttir, Laura Malinauskaite and Justine Vanhalst.


Colonization of microorganisms at Surtsey and Fimmvörðuháls volcanoes

Comparison of microbial communities from atmosphere and lava from two different active volcanic areas in Iceland, Surtsey and Fimmvörðuhálsi.

Aurelien Daussin, PhD student at Matís, has had a scientific article published in the journal Microorganisms (MDPI). The article is entitled "Comparison of Atmospheric and Lithospheric Culturable Bacterial Communities from Two Dissimilar Active Volcanic Sites, Surtsey Island and Fimmvörðuháls Mountain in Iceland". Matís instructors and staff Pauline Vannier and Viggó Þór Marteinsson are also co-authors of the article.

The aim of the study was to evaluate and compare the diversity of culturable microbial communities in lava at two different Icelandic volcanoes, on the island of Surtsey and on Fimmvörðuhálsi, and investigate their origin. Air and lava samples were collected in 2018-2019 from both volcanic areas. The main results showed that the origin of most of the culturable microorganisms in the lava lumps came from the local environment (85%), while others have traveled far.

You can read the entire article here.


Matís in collaboration with the Cawthron Institute in New Zealand

New Zealand and Iceland are islands whose populations are strongly shaped by their proximity to the ocean. Both nations are highly dependent on the ocean, and the sustainable use of marine resources is therefore important for the survival and economy of the nations.

Last week, three Matís employees visited New Zealand, CEO Oddur Már Gunnarsson, Rósa Jónsdóttir project manager and Sophie Jensen, project manager, to take part in the workshop "Algal research and opportunities". The workshop was organized by Cawthron Institute which is one of New Zealand's largest scientific institutes with a special focus on environmental issues. Participants included representatives from New Zealand stakeholders such as NewFish, AgriSea, Plant & Food Research and Scion Research. International guests who attended the workshop were from the Kelp Forest Foundation, RISE, SAMS, Nordic Seafarm, Ghent University, UiT, Blu3, Nofima and Universidad de Los Lagos.
The goal of the workshop was to establish joint research and commercial projects with a focus on the production and utilization of algae.

On February 28, 2023, Oddur Már Gunnarsson, CEO of Matís, and Volker Kuntzsch, CEO, wrote Cawthron Institute under a partnership agreement. The aim of the agreement is to establish a cooperation platform between Iceland and New Zealand in the field of research related to marine resources. The collaboration will support the development of knowledge and the promotion of research, from idea to market. Increased cooperation and mutual support will strengthen Matís and the Cawthron Institute to strengthen the blue bioeconomy.

Workshop in Nelson (Fairfield house) – Algal research and opportunities Downunder- Day 2
Oddr together with more satisfied participants visiting Sanford Bioactives in Blenheim – Day 3
Matís CEO Oddur Már Gunnarsson and Cawthron Institute CEO Volker Kuntzsch sign a partnership agreement here.


Importance of new protein sources for salmon farming worldwide

Jónas Rúnar Viðarsson, director of value creation at Matís, is currently present North Atlantic Seafood forum (NASF), in Bergen Norway.

Similar to 200 miles on report today, Jónas talks about how important new protein sources are for growing feed production for salmon farming.

At the conference, Jónas presented the SYLFEED project that Matís is working on, and the goal of the project is to develop and design a value chain for the production of protein from forest products. Imports of protein for use in feed amount to 70% in Europe and the product of the SYLFEED project will be used as a high quality protein in fish feed in order to stem the levels of these increasing imports.

In his talk, Jónas also covered new proteins from microalgae, protozoa and insects.

Read the news on here.

Find out more about the SYLFEED project here:

Peer-reviewed articles

Comparison of Atmospheric and Lithospheric Culturable Bacterial Communities from Two Dissimilar Active Volcanic Sites, Surtsey Island and Fimmvörðuháls Mountain in Iceland


Aurelien Daussin

Ph.D. Student

Surface microbes are aerosolized into the atmosphere by wind and events such as dust storms and volcanic eruptions. Before they reach their deposition site, they experience stressful atmospheric conditions which preclude the successful dispersal of a large fraction of cells. In this study, our objectives were to assess and compare the atmospheric and lithospheric bacterial cultivable diversity of two geographically different Icelandic volcanic sites: the island Surtsey and the Fimmvörðuháls mountain, to predict the origin of the culturable microbes from these sites, and to select airborne candidates for further investigation. Using a combination of MALDI Biotyper analysis and partial 16S rRNA gene sequencing, a total of 1162 strains were identified, belonging to 72 species affiliated to 40 genera with potentially 26 new species. The most prevalent phyla identified were Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria. Statistical analysis showed significant differences between atmospheric and lithospheric microbial communities, with distinct communities in Surtsey's air. By combining the air mass back trajectories and the analysis of the closest representative species of our isolates, we concluded that 85% of our isolates came from the surrounding environments and only 15% from long distances. The taxonomic proportions of the isolates were reflected by the site's nature and location.

Link to article.


Analysis of the nutritional value and utilization rate of lamb meat

Similar to The farmer's newspaper reported in its latest issue that Matís is now working on accurately analyzing the nutritional value and utilization ratio of lamb meat and lamb carcass by-products.

Measurements of nutrients are carried out on meat, offal and organs. The focus is on the measurements of protein and fat, which determine the energy value, but measurements of water, the total amount of minerals and selected vitamins and minerals are also carried out.

The project is extensive and provides invaluable information on the nutritional value of each individual piece of meat. With new data, it will be possible to improve cost and margin calculations during processing and product price estimation.

Read the full articles, here.

Find out more about the project here:


Saltfish past and present

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir, project manager at Matís, is a guest on Matvælin, Matís' podcast show. The show covers a wide range of topics when it comes to saltfish, its history and culture.

Kolbrún tells us about the projects that Matís has worked on in relation to the saltfish and what got her interested in that work. The common misconception that salted fish should be very salty is discussed and it is predicted why fully salted fish products are one of the most valuable export products for us Icelanders, but salted fish is not popular here at home.

Should salted fish be to Icelanders what Parma ham is to Italians, and what needs to happen to make salted fish more popular among the people of Iceland?

Don't miss this episode. Listen to the full episode here:

Moderator: Hildur Ýr Thráinsdóttir

The partners of the project are: Íslandstofa, Icelandic saltfish producers, Club of chefs, Møreforsking AS.

The project is funded by: AG-Fisk (Arbejdsgruppen for Fiskerisamarbejdet) organized by the Nordic Council of Ministers, AVS Research Fund.


Head of Finance and Operations

Matís is looking for a versatile manager in the field of finance and
of operation. The job involves a lot of communication, negotiation and
analytical work.

Main tasks and responsibilities:

  • Financial settlement of Matís and settlement of individual projects
  • Responsibility for project accounting
  • Financial plans in collaboration with finance managers and department managers
  • Financial analysis work
  • Development of data utilization and formulation of management information
  • Supervising the operation of real estate, canteen, equipment, computer system and software
  • Overseeing the implementation and development of ICT projects
  • Negotiating and communicating with numerous parties
  • Development of processes and methods

Qualification requirements:

  • University education in the field of finance and operations
  • Strong communication and organizational skills
  • Good analytical skills
  • Experience in management and operations
  • Experience in accounting and settlements
  • Good knowledge of financial software
  • Experience in the operation of information technology systems is desirable

Matís is a leader in the field of food research and biotechnology. At Matís's
employs a strong group of 100 people who are passionate about it
to find new ways to maximize the use of raw materials, increase sustainability
and promote public health. Matís' role is to strengthen the competitiveness of Icelandic people
products and industry and ensure food safety, public health and sustainability
utilization of the environment through research, innovation and services. Matís
focuses on practical research that increases the value of Icelandic
food production, promote the safety and wholesomeness of products and sustainability
utilization of natural resources.

Applications must be accompanied by a detailed CV and cover letter. 

All genders are encouraged to apply. 

Information provided by Geirlaug Jóhannsdóttir,


The Minister of Food visited Matís

Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Minister of Food, together with the ministry's employees, visited Matís.

Oddur Már Gunnarsson, CEO of Matís, welcomed the ministry, along with other Matís staff. The Ministry of Food looked into Matí's board meeting where, among other things, the countless opportunities that lie in research and innovation in food production were discussed. The visit was most enjoyable.

Matís' staff would like to thank you very much for the visit and look forward to continued successful cooperation with the Ministry.