Icelandic algae collaboration yields food packaging spray


In Iceland, a supplier of natural astaxanthin from algae is attracting collaborators with ideas on how to use the leftover materials.

Currently, Algalif dries microalgae and extracts relevant molecules for use in supplements, while the leftover biomass is used for fertilizer. But Julie Encausse, founder and CEO of bioplastic start-up Marea, is looking to use the leftover material to manufacture a spray that can be used as food packaging. Dubbed Iceborea, Encausse tells The Washington Post the spray becomes a thin film that protects food from microorganisms. Iceborea can be eaten or simply washed off.

The work is part of the Sjavarklasinn network that includes environmental entrepreneurs and startups across the small Scandinavian country.  “There is a collaborative mind-set when being on an island,” Encausse says. “We need to work together to survive, and this was passed from generation to generation.”