Poseidona wants to convert invasive algae into food

Barcelona-based Poseidona is on a mission to transform the invasive algae plaguing the world’s oceans into a sustainable alternative to soy protein. The food-tech company is not only seeking to remediate the environmental harms caused by these algae, but also to introduce an innovative new source of protein into the food industry.

Poseidona’s genesis can be traced back to the observations of Sònia Hurtado, who, living near the Mediterranean, witnessed first-hand the deleterious effects of Rugulopteryx okamurae, an invasive seaweed species, on the Spanish coastline. The invasion that she witnessed, which was caused by marine contamination in the south of France, posed a significant threat to biodiversity by endangering coral reefs and, consequently, the broader marine ecosystem.

In collaboration with María Cermeño, an expert in protein extraction from circular food materials, Hurtado embarked on a venture to address this ecological menace. Their approach harnesses the potential of invasive seaweed and agricultural side-streams, employing enzymatic hydrolysis, among other technologies, to extract high-quality protein. This process not only promises a sustainable protein source but also addresses the challenge of environmental degradation by utilizing the side-streams that agricultural producers often discard.

With its first product, a soy alternative protein concentrate, Poseidona hopes to make a splash in the food industry. The initial prototypes have shown promising results, with a unique umami flavor and a natural reddish color, setting the stage for further development and refinement. The company’s progress has been supported by a €1.1mn pre-seed funding round, which is indicative of investors’ confidence in Poseidona’s vision and its potential to strengthen the food industry.

As Poseidona continues to navigate the complexities of government regulations and explores partnerships with local fishermen to collect seaweed, its broader vision remains clear. By expanding its portfolio to include other invasive seaweed species and refining its proprietary methodology, Poseidona aims to offer a sustainable, cost-competitive alternative to mainstream plant-based proteins.

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