Collaboration with Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative.
The global demand of seaweed to produce food, bioactive compounds and carbon capture is increasing rapidly. The development of efficient cultivation and production methods, has therefore, become essential, considering the environmental changes that global warming is generating. In Tanzania, the successful production of numerous seaweed species, particularly red seaweed such as Euchema denticulatum, Kappaphycus striatus, and Kappaphycus alvarezii, has helped the country to become the biggest African producer of aquatic plants, massively driven by local women who are taking part in this lucrative venture. Indeed, red seaweed is a sustainable source of protein), a macro-nunitrient in which Tanzanian nationals are deficient. However, seaweed farming in Tanzania has suffered a decline in production, mainly attributed to climate-change induced stress, linked to an increase in water temperatures (up to 38C) and leading to increased epiphytes and diseases such ice-ice. Genomic and molecular tools are playing a fundamental role in the improvement of plant and animal production, therefore, they are called to take part in the improvement of seaweed production by facilitating selection of important traits, such as temperature tolerance and disease resistance. This opens the possibility of improving production and adding additional value to their product by means of increased nutritional value, and bioactive compound content.