New Zealand (Richmond)
More commonly known for being eaten with rice after going through the traditional Japanese methods of blanching, cooling, salting, there is currently a lot of excitement around seaweed for providing multiple solutions right across the protein system – from feeding humans and animals to supporting plant growth and soil health.
Now Waikaitu, a New Zealand company, has developed a refined and concentrated seaweed biostimulant from the brown algae ‘wakame’ (Undaria Pinnatifida), a non-native and invasive species of seaweed found in the Marlborough Sounds. When added to soil, the biostimulant assists and improves nutrients, and the health, strength and growth of plants: “This was a great opportunity to help solve two problems,” says Alexander Pressmen, CEO of Waikaitu, “to reduce the pressure on our marine ecosystem and to help build long term fertility in our soils.”
By mixing the freshly harvested wakame with healthy bacteria to form one of the most effective and ecologically responsible nutrient suspensions NZBioActiveTM, plant health is improved through increased soil microbial activity. It stimulates plant growth and assists plants during stressful times such as drought, frost or pest pressure.
Wakame has been tested in the US-based Natural News Laboratory against 17 different edible seaweed based products and was found to have the lowest level of heavy metals of them all. Pressmen believes this is because Marlborough Sounds has a low population and no heavy industry locally, making the waters cleaner and less polluted than in other areas where seaweed is harvested. Removing wakame assists the environment, as it is an invasive species, while providing a product to assist in feeding humans and animals, making it a sustainably viable process with multiple benefits.
Adapted from a piece by Alison Beaty for Futures Centre.
Alexander Pressmen, CEO, Waikaitu
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