Course in algae biotechnology


Elísabet Eik Guðmundsdóttir

Project Manager

In collaboration with the University of Cambridge, SAMS (Scottish association for Marine Science), Fraunhofer and the Culture Collection of algae & protozoa, Matís offers courses in algae biotechnology. The courses are part of The EIT-food project Algae Biotechnology

The aim of these courses is to provide basic training and education in algae biotechnology. The cultivation of algae, their growth and biotechnology in laboratories and in experimental facilities will be discussed. Participants will get an insight into the world of experience of experts from both an industrial and an entrepreneurial perspective. This can help participants to start or improve their own activities related to algae.

Courses are offered both online and in person and will ensure the development and strengthening of a network for all participants from around the world.

The course is open to anyone with a BA, MSc or PhD degree or significant experience in the aquaculture sector or the food system, especially people from countries within the EU and EIT Food related countries.

Three ways to participate in the course:

  • A 3-day online course (28 -30 November 2023) followed by a 5-day on-site course (15 – 19 April 2024) at the University of Cambridge, Algal Innovation Centre, UK. (30 available places)
  • Only 3-day online course (November 28-30, 2023) (60 available places)
  • Only a 5-day on-site course (15 – 19 April 2024) at the University of Cambridge, Algal Innovation Centre, UK. (30 available places)

More information about the course as well as registration information can be found on the project's website here: Algae Biotechnology


Genetic Analyzes of Salmon at Matís

A lot has been done in Matís genetics laboratory in recent days with analyzes of supposed farmed salmon that have been caught in a number of rivers in recent weeks.

Matís has recently received salmon samples from the Norwegian Marine Research Institute for genetic research. In Matís' laboratory, genetic material is isolated and so-called delayed sequence analysis is performed. The Norwegian Marine Research Institute's experts then use the results to check whether the salmon is wild or farmed. If it turns out to be of fish origin, the genetic data is used to trace the origin of the fish. It is important to maintain knowledge, equipment and skills in order to be able to carry out these analyzes in this country. It ensures short transmission paths as well as promotes safer and faster analysis of samples. Finally, it can be mentioned that Matís and the Norwegian Marine Research Institute are jointly working on the development of a set of genetic parameters to assess genetic admixture from farmed salmon in Icelandic stocks.

Over the years, Matís has worked on many research projects on the genetics of Icelandic salmon. Research has shown, among other things, that populations in Icelandic rivers are diverse and that there are great genetic differences between and within watersheds.

See also:

Salmon in rivers - vigilance of anglers important


Discection yields and nutrient value of Icelandic lamb meat and organs

Matís has done a project on utilization rate and chemical content of lamb meat and by-products for Íslenskt lamb ehf. and Hafliði Halldórsson is in charge, but the project is funded by the Food Fund.

Due to progress in breeding in recent years, there was a lack of data on the utilization of lamb meat. Utilization rate for lamb was found by deboning the number of lamb carcasses. The carcasses were divided into meat, fat, bones and tendons. In this way, the meat industry receives data for planning and cost and margin calculations.

Extensive chemical analyzes have been carried out on lamb meat, offal and selected organs. Emphasis was placed 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 heavy metals are also carried out.

Among the interesting results, it can be mentioned that B12 vitamin was found in sufficient quantities to be able to publish information about it under nutrition labels. Measurements were not only made of nutrients, but also of heavy metals, which are considered undesirable substances. The amount of heavy metals in the lamb was not measurable.

Figure 1: Julija Igorsdóttir at the ICP-mass spectrometer used for measuring heavy metals.

Picture 2: Svanhildur Hauksdóttir weighs out a sample of lamb's liver to measure the water content.

More information about the project can be found on its project page here:
Discection yields and nutrient value of Icelandic lamb meat and organs


Insects, yeasts and microalgae protein sources of the future?

"It is really possible to develop food products for people and feed for animals that contain these ingredients. Products that are, as a result, in many cases a healthier and more environmentally friendly option." This is what Birgir Örn Smárason, professional manager at Matís says, but for the past four years he has led a large collaborative project where alternative proteins have been the research topic. The project is now coming to an end and a harvest festival is ahead when the final conference will be held in Bremerhaven on September 7 and 8.

The NextGenProteins project is a collaborative project of 21 parties from 10 European countries, but Birgir Örn led it and other Matís staff worked on various aspects of it. The main objective of the project was to develop, optimize and optimize the production of three sustainably produced neoproteins, and verify their use in various foods and feeds.

"In short, it can be said that all the objectives of the project have been achieved. Of course, there will be some small changes in focus over the course of the project due to new ideas or results, but overall the plan was a complete success and everything that was supposed to be delivered was delivered."

The new proteins examined in the project are insect protein derived from by-products of food production, single-cell protein which is a yeast mass that thrives on the sugars of forestry products, and microalgae grown largely on CO2 emissions from geothermal power generation. We worked with a number of companies on the development of feed and food, which were then tested by consumers and in feed trials. The production of these proteins is, by most comparisons, sustainable and environmentally friendly, with a much lower carbon footprint and requiring less water and land use.

"We also demonstrated ways to work with consumers and gain their consent, and presented strategic proposals to simplify and change government regulations and policies towards a more sustainable food system."

Good cooperation in challenging times

The past four years have in many ways been particularly challenging for collaborative projects between different parties and different research groups between countries, as the pandemic put a damper on things. Birgir says that the cooperation has been incredibly successful. It was possible to use the technology during meetings, but the project's relatives had to exercise their patience while waiting for the results of various measurements due to the closures at the laboratories.

"despite all this, it can be said that the project went as planned, and it is therefore best to thank a strong group of participants who have all worked hard to achieve the project's goals. We can also mention a good group within Matís who has led the project forward."

Kick-off meeting of the project

Greenish chickens

Various interesting and unexpected things can be revealed during pioneering research work like this, and Birgir recalls the challenges that arose when developing foods and feeds with microalgae protein. "The green color in microalgae is so strong that even in small amounts it takes over everything. In one experiment where chickens were to be fed feed containing microalgae protein, the feathers turned green!” With increased research work, it was later possible to develop ways to reduce or remove the color and dampen the taste, making it easier to develop food products and feed.

Great interest in the issue and a follow-up project in the making

According to Birgis, further research is needed and there is a lot of interest in the issue. The results of the project need to be worked on, showing how it is possible to scale up the production of new proteins and bring them to market with the approval of consumers and the government. Furthermore, work needs to be started to introduce neoproteins to consumers, show their advantages and explain the production process and why this can be a healthier and more sustainable option. The foundation for such work was laid in the project, which will be useful in the future.

Sensory evaluation of products with neoproteins

"Matís has been working on projects related to new proteins and sustainable food systems for a long time and has joined the group of leading people who conduct such research. We will of course build on this and continue this journey. Our goal is to have a positive effect on food production as a whole, whether we look at Iceland or Europe, with sustainability as a guiding light for the good of all".

The final conference of the project will take place on September 7 and 8, and it will be a sort of harvest festival. Birgir says he is most excited to meet the group again. The project went through all the waves of Covid which meant that we could not meet for more than 2 years which is very unusual for such a collaborative project and uncomfortable for many. "It will therefore be nice to be able to celebrate the success with all the participants of the project and discuss the next steps".   

We encourage those who are interested to follow the results of the project, which will gradually appear on its website and even sign up for the final conference. It is possible to watch the conference online.


The construction of Matís in Neskaupstað attracts attention

Recently, the web media Austurfrétt published a review of the updates to Matís equipment in Neskaupstaður that have taken place in recent seasons.

The coverage included an interview with Stefán Þór Eysteinsson, professional manager, who told about the latest addition in biomass plant Matís which is operated in Neskaupstaður, but it is a kind of centrifuge. In the biomass plant, you can find technologically perfect processing equipment that is well suited for the development and production of proteins and oils from by-products of food processing that can be used either in feed production or for human consumption and food production.

According to Stefán, the centrifuge is a definite backbone of the biomass plant's equipment complex and enables Matís to study almost all biomass that can potentially be further processed into some kind of product. In addition, the device allows us to scale up more with the aim of better simulating the real conditions at the customer's production site.

The news on Austurfré can be read in its entirety here:

A new device greatly increases Matís' research potential in Neskaupstaður

Matís' biomass plant can be found here:



LHÍ's visit to Matís

Students in the second year of product design at the Iceland University of the Arts visited Matís recently to get to know the activities and projects that are carried out here, but they placed special emphasis on how food will look in the future.

In the product design program, students receive, among other things, training in working on design projects in collaboration with associations, companies and institutions in society such as Matís. Þóra Valsdóttir, project manager at Matís, introduced them to the activities and the diverse projects that have been carried out here, before accompanying them around the building where they could see the facilities that Matís has to offer. Afterwards, the students had the opportunity to view VR videos from the project Future Kitchen in virtual reality glasses where the possibilities for the kitchen of the future are examined.

The videos are available on Matís' Youtube channel here:

Future Kitchen VR

The students were accompanied by the head of product design, Elínar Margot, who emphasizes that second-year students learn about food design and focus especially on how food and the culture around it will look in the future using the methodology of speculative design (e.speculative design).

The students asked about all kinds of diverse projects, so it will be interesting to see what they will do in the program and in the years to come.


North Atlantic Seafood Forum Innovation Competition

Since 2005, the North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF) has been an annual event where managers and stakeholders in the fishing industry and aquaculture meet in Bergen to learn about the main innovations and compare books.

This time, NASF will be held on March 5 – 7, 2024, and around 1,000 people are expected to attend the event. The target group of this three-day conference are managers and investors in the fishing industry, aquaculture and related industries, ie device manufacturers, marketing companies, banks, insurance companies, carriers, consulting companies, etc.

Among the things offered in the program is an entrepreneurship and innovation competition. 10 entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to present their solutions and compete for great prizes. This is an extremely good opportunity for entrepreneurs to draw attention to their solutions that benefit the fishing industry and aquaculture. You can see the companies that were nominated at NASF23 here. Applications for NASF24 are now open. Are more information and registration sheets available here and we encourage Icelandic entrepreneurs to apply.


What will the food of the future be like? NextGenProteins photo contest results

This summer the project was completed NextGenProteins, which Matís is working on, for a photo competition for students aged 8-10. The topic was the food of the future, and the students sent in their graphic representation of how they envisioned the food of the future.

It is nice to say that the photo competition received more than 50 magnificent photos from elementary schools from all over the country. The pictures were hung inside the walls of Matís and staff and visitors were given the chance to vote for their favorite picture. Three films won outright and there was a lot to win. The first prize was a Nintendo Switch Light computer, the second prize was ISK 15,000. a gift certificate to Smáralind and the third prize was ISK 10 thousand. gift certificate in Spilavini. All winners have been contacted.

Here you can see the top three places in the photo competition:

1st place Saga Vogaskóli
2nd place Íris Vogaskóli
3rd place Victoria Höfðskóli

The winning photo has been sent to Germany, where it will be shown at the final conference of the NextGenProteins project, together with the winning photos of other nations participating in the project.

Matís and NextGenProteins would like to thank everyone who participated in the photo competition for their participation!


Is wrapping around vegetables necessary? 


Ólafur Reykdal

Project Manager

Awareness has been raised about the importance of reducing the use of single-use packaging, and this is especially true for the use of plastic.

The consumer market has recently called for environmentally friendly packaging, and there is a loud demand for less use of plastic in the vegetable value chain. Producers and sellers are faced with the fact that using plastic is the easiest way to reduce the moisture loss of vegetables and thus preserve their quality and shelf life. The plastic is also used to differentiate products and to arrange pieces together in sales units.

Matís' staff has worked on a project aimed at highlighting the facts about vegetable packaging. Vegetables as a living tissue, the properties of the various packaging materials and environmental effects, especially the harmful effects of chemicals in plastic, were discussed.

You can read about all this and more in Matís's report:

  • Chapter 10, for example, provides advice on packing vegetables.
  • Appendix 3 contains detailed tables of ideal storage conditions for vegetables, fruits and spices.


Matís is advertising for a property manager

Matís is looking for a strong person for the position of real estate manager in 100% job at Matís's location in Reykjavík. The job is suitable for a resourceful person who strives to achieve diverse projects and can take care of Matís' establishments, research and equipment.

Main tasks and responsibilities

  • Supervision of Matís' establishments, site and various research, equipment and technical equipment
  • Supervise maintenance, improvements and other works related to establishments, devices and equipment. Enter into smaller projects as needed
  • Communicate and negotiate with contractors for maintenance projects
  • Supervision of security, supervision of establishments and cleaning services
  • Assist in the preparation and installation of facilities related to daily work and events organized by Matís
  • Receipt of supplies and management of related household appliances, research equipment and gas canisters
  • Instruct staff on appropriate handling and use of equipment

Educational and qualification requirements

  • Appropriate vocational training, such as mechanics, electronics, carpentry
  • Strong communication and organizational skills
  • Independent and disciplined work style
  • Knowledge and experience of general maintenance and construction is an advantage

Employment rate is 100%. The person concerned will work at Matís' workplace in Reykjavík, at Vínlandsleið 12.

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

All genders are encouraged to apply.

The application deadline is up to and including July 30.

More information about the job is provided by:

Andri Gunnarsson, Head of Finance and Operations,, phone: 422 5040.

Matís is a leader in the field of food research and biotechnology. At Matís, there is a strong group of around 100 employees who are passionate about finding new ways to maximize the use of raw materials, increase sustainability and promote public health. Matís operates five establishments throughout the country.