Valorization of pelagic sargassum biomass into sustainable applications: Current trends and challenges
Fernando Amador-Castroa, Tomás García-Cayuelaa, Hal S. Alperb, Verónica Rodriguez-Martineza, Danay Carrillo-Nievesa
Tecnologico de Monterrey, Escuela de Ingenieria y Ciencias, Av. General Ramon Corona No. 2514, 45201, Zapopan, Jal., Mexico.
Since long ago, pelagic Sargassum mats have been known to be abundant in the Sargasso Sea, where they provide habitat to diverse organisms. However, over the last few years, massive amounts of pelagic Sargassum have reached the coast of several countries in the Caribbean and West Africa, causing economic and environmental problems. Aiming for lessening the impacts of the blooms, governments and private companies remove the seaweeds from the shore, but this process results expensive. The valorization of this abundant biomass can render Sargassum tides into an economic opportunity and concurrently solve their associated environmental problems. Despite the diverse fields where algae have found applications and the relevance of this recurrent situation, Sargassum biomass remains without large scale applications. Therefore, this review aims to present the potential uses of these algae, identifying the limitations that must be assessed to effectively valorize this bioresource. Due to the constraints identified for each of the presented applications, it is concluded that a biorefinery approach should be developed to effectively valorize this abundant biomass. However, there is an urgent need for investigations focusing on holopelagic Sargassum to be able to truly valorize this seaweed.
Keywords: Macroalgae, Seaweed applications, Golden tides, Algal blooms, Caribbean sea.