Process and economic feasibility for the production of functional food from the brown alga Ecklonia radiata

Suvimol Charoensiddhi, Andrew Lorbeer, Christopher Franco, Peng Su, Michael Conlon, Wei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This article provides a case-study for the simulated industrial-scale production of high-value functional food products from the brown seaweed Ecklonia radiata. Three process scenarios at a batch processing scale of 2000 kg seaweed were assessed for their economic feasibility: Scenario 1: Enzyme-assisted production of a crude seaweed extract; Scenario 2: Scenario 1, followed by fractionation based on different molecular weights (MW); Scenario 3: Ethanolic extraction, followed by enzyme-assisted extraction and separation into high and low MW fractions. Scenario 2 demonstrated greater profitability, with a payback time of 1.6 years and a net present value (NPV) twice that of Scenario 1 (2.1 years and US$ 45.03M). Scenario 3 was not economically feasible, with a negative NPV and payback time that was three times longer than Scenario 1. To improve profitability, Scenario 4 was assessed, which integrated Scenario 1 (at the batch processing scale of 500 kg seaweed) with formulation of the extract as a functional ingredient into a juice-based beverage. This process was more profitable than Scenario 1, with a payback time and NPV of 1.1 years and US$ 89.43M, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-91
Number of pages12
JournalAlgal Research
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Bioprocess
  • Economic assessment
  • Phlorotannin
  • Polysaccharide
  • Process simulation
  • Seaweed


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