The goal of the Nýbylgja Bragð project is to develop valuable healthy flavors from large algae, produced using innovative biotechnological methods that promote sustainable algae processing.
Health authorities around the world recommend reducing the use of salt in processed foods to reduce the risk of high blood pressure. As salt has a strong effect on taste, there is a risk that less salt consumption will reduce the taste and that processing properties may change. Large algae are rich in metals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium which give a salty taste. In addition, they contain a lot of flavor enhancers that can change the taste properties of food. Some species have these properties, while others need to be processed to release potential flavors such as proteins, amino acids and reducing sugars.
The aim of this project was to develop valuable healthy flavors from large algae, produced using innovative biotechnological methods, among other things to reduce salt consumption in food processing. The project focused on processing flavorings from seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) and gillnets (Saccharina latissima) but these species grow in large numbers near Iceland. Biotechnological methods were used to process flavors, including the use of enzymes developed at Matís. The flavors were tested with e-tongue, e-nose and taste buds from the tongue, as well as sensory evaluation and chemical measurements. Selected flavors were used to test in saltier and tastier foods. The results of the project are promising, but further testing and adaptation of processing processes are needed, including an upscaling of the enzyme's production.