Newsletter Seacolors N2

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SEACOLORS: Demonstration of new algae dyes to replace the synthetic dyes currently used in industry.

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SEACOLORS main aim is the demonstration and validation of obtaining natural dyes from a sustainable and renewable natural resource, micro, macro-algae and cyanobacteria. The goal is to replace the synthetic dyes currently applied in the textile industry which are pollutant and harmful for the environment.
SEACOLORS will require a validation on the types of micro and macro-algae with higher dyeing capacity and on the optimization of extraction processes. The investigation of the variables involved in the dyeing process in order to obtain dyed fabrics with acceptable quality parameters will also be carried out. This process is expected to be complex due to:

1) A huge variety of fibers in the market and the range of colors demanded by the fashion
2) the specific requirements colour fastness
A semi-industrial scale test will validate the growth conditions of algae and the dyes’ extraction in sufficient quantities before proceeding for a demonstration on the validity of dyes in a textile company industrial dyeing operation.
Due to the higher biodegradability of natural dyes, a reduction in the water purification industrial process is expected.
Macro- and microalgae (including cyanobacteria) have been recognized to provide a wide diversity of metabolites including pigments (dyes) for energy capture and photo-protection. One of the main objectives is to identify and select potential micro- and macroalgae strains/species that can be used a raw material for the dye industry.
Specific criteria for selection are:

• Availability: Culture collection
• Growth characteristics: growth rate (­u); duplication times (td
) and production yield
• Pigments composition (target pigment)
• Stages for metabolite synthesis (one vs two phases; stress conditions)
• Dye yields: production yield “product of interest” content
• Possibilities for cultivation at industrial scale (considering processing techniques)
• Strain Improvement: pigment accumulation under cultivation conditions
ALGAplus is responsible for supplying the macroalgae (seaweed) biomass from which different tonalities of red, green and yellow dyes has been extracted. A few months screening phase was used to select the most suitable seaweed species to undergo the large-scale production trials; this was based in their growth performance and pigment yields.

 “Macroalgae selection for dye extraction” has been done according to:

1) a representative of each phylum
2) their current existence in the Atlantic coast (native or exotic)
3) the ability of the species to grow by vegetative
4) Propagation and/or with known life cycle = easiness to upscale
Laboratory trials were carried out with the objective of increasing pigment yields in the selected species; Irradiance, stocking density and nutrient input were the manipulated production factors.
Currently, manipulation experiments are being carried out at the land-based integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) commercial system of ALGAplus. If successful, these trials will confirm the potential of this sustainable production system as a tool to increase the yields but also the value (customised pigment concentrations) of selected seaweed species.
The Spanish Bank of Algae (BEA-ULPGC) is responsible for the selection, characterization and supply of microalgae and cyanobacteria mainly producing carotenoids (orange and yellow dyes) and phycobiliproteins (red and blue dyes).

Many species/strains are cultivated under different conditions, thereby pigment content has been modified by controlling their growth conditions. Recently BEA has performed microalgae and cyanobacteria strains selection and biomass production by considering both:

(1) possibilities for being cultivated at pilot scale in a sustainable way; and
(2) pigments/dyes profile and accumulation characteristics (possible nutrient/light effects).
Pigments/dyes profile and concentrations have been checked, according to standard methodology per group of pigments (phycobiliproteins – red and blue, and carotenoids – orange and yellow) at the same time as growth characteristics of strains. Extracts have been checked for pigment/dye concentration and purity criteria. Biomass, liquid crude extracts and freeze-dried pigments are being delivered to AITEX for studying dye performance.

Cultivation techniques for selected strains and species have been implemented and also to increase biomass/pigment quality in a reproducible form. The biomass selected is:


Second step has been to produce the biomass production under controlled conditions for growth and composition characterization (target pigment concentration; purity criteria; stability, etc.).

The project wants to produce dyes extracted from algae without generating waste, so a study of the possible applications of the waste biomass generated after dye-extraction will also be carried out.
The following step was to test these pigments/dyes in the dyeing process. In this action, it was firstly proved the application of the principle of dyeing with direct dyes, which means a high temperature and short time of dyeing, and with no pretreatment of the fabric. These conditions were not favourable for the fixation in the fabric. . The time affects negatively the colorant properties of the proteins, and the temperature helps for a better exhaustion of the dye. Further development in the adjustment parameters of the dyeing, time and temperature, are needed. In this moment, dying cotton and wool textile samples are being carried out.

To improve the fastness of the dye, mordanting processes for each fabric are being tested. The mordanting process needs to be done in all the steps of the process: before, during and after dyeing, increasing in this way the colour fastness before and after washing. For a major improvement of the process, adding auxiliaries will be included,  helping to increase the dye affinity to the fabric.

In order to measure the environmental impact of the project a study of advantages and savings of the process of manufacture and use natural dyes is being carried out by considering

(1) possible environmental impacts or benefits of obtaining dyes from algae; and

(2) application of the “biorefinery” concept to reuse the biomass after pigments/dyes extraction which might significantly improve yields related to algal production and dyes extraction from an ecological/economical point of view.


By contributing to scientific conferences & events, consortium aims to present main objectives and outcomes of the project to stimulate the interest of the general public. SEACOLOS has participated in: 

BioEurope Spring 2015 (9th-11th March, Paris, France) 

BIO-Europe Spring is a strategic meeting point for the biotech industry, where SEACOLORS project was presented through celebrated one-to-one meetings and brochures and dissemination material.
BIO-Europe Spring is the springtime counterpart to EBD Group's flagship life science partnering conference, BIO-Europe®. Companies participate in one-to-one partnering meeting facilitated by EBD Group's highly reputable partneringONE platform.

International Fair of The Sea (FIMAR 2015, 20-22 March 2015, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain)

The International Fair of the Sea (FIMAR) 2015, organized by the city of Las Palmas, through the Ocean City councillorship (Ciudad del Mar), celebrated its fifth edition with a record of 20,000 visitors and an increase in generating business expectations among the participating companies, which have highlighted the influx of people and the interest of new customers for the marine life.
FIMAR Science cluster and ​​exhibition area arose great excitement among the public on the latest developments in the sector and showed latest scientific and technological innovation.


ALGAPLUS Event at CIEMar (27th March 2015, Ílhavo, Portugal)

ALGAPLUS organised at CIEMar an event to present the general public the opportunities on seaweeds and seaweed-based products.

ALGAplus presented the Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) sustainable concept. A land-based tank cultivation system with several capacities as well as earthen-ponds with variable sizes (starting at approx. 3000m2) with water renewal related to the tidal cycles to promote the environmental and economical sustainability of the aquaculture industry; to adjust the quantity and quality of seaweed produced to the demands of the markets sought; and to keep a strong R&D component in order to optimize processes and develop new seaweed-based products.

Biobased economy“ conference  (30th April, Potsdam, Germany)

It is a major event in Potsdam/Germany that brings together international actors in a cross-sectoral approach. The overall aim of the international conference „biobased economy“ was to bring together actors along the entire value chain not only to identify the potential for biobased processes but to also address gaps in value chains and work on sustainable solutions. 

Techtextil (4th -7th May, Frankfurt am Main, Germany)

Techtextil is the International trade fair for the technical textiles and nonwovens industries where new projects and partnerships are initiated and visionary objectives are conceived and implemented.
The high number of international trade visitors explains why Techtextil is of unique value to all the target groups in the sector. Interest in new technical solutions is growing continuous, releasing tremendous sales and turnover potential.


European Seaweed Production and Marketability Event  (13th May, Oban, Scotland)

The European Seaweed Production and Marketability workshop is a world first, bringing together five EU projects - AT~SEA, EnAlgae, iDREEM, SeaBioPlas and Atlantic BlueTech, in conjunction with the Global Seaweed network, and the Biomarine International Clusters Association (BICA).
The event promises an interesting and challenging discussion of best practices in seaweed cultivation, harvesting, analysis and product extraction. It aims to:

i) Establish the transnational value of the European seaweed resource, towards the marketability of its products, considering the conservation and genetics of the resource basis, the regulatory framework and social acceptability issues;
ii) Create an informative reference framework for industry, as well as for regulators, research and service providers, around production and marketability of seaweed.

23rd European biomass conference and exhibition (EUBCE) 2015  (1st June 2015, Vienna, Austria)

The EUBCE covers the entire value chain of biomass to conduct business, network, and to present and discuss the latest developments and innovations, the vision is to educate the biomass community and to accelerate growth.
The EUBCE hosts a dynamic international Exhibition for companies and research labs to showcase their latest products and innovations, bringing scientists, technologists and students together with leading Biomass industries and organizations.

Algae Event (2nd June 2015 Vienna, Austria)

Algae event 2015 is a parallel event jointly organised by EUBCE 2015, EnAlgae project and RE-CORD. Macroalgae and microalgae are increasingly being considered as a useful source of biomass for a number of industrial purposes. The aim of this one-day event is be to get a better understanding on the sustainability of algae production and utilisation and on how and why algae can be used for biorefineries. Discussions are focused on energy input-output, mass balance, avoided greenhouse gas emissions, chemicals and fuels production, market perspectives.

There is a strong focus on interactions between research, industry and policy makers for the algae sector, one of the prominent and promising branches of biomass that is contributing to an emerging low carbon economy. 

BLUE BUSINESS FORUM (Blue business forum, 4th-6th June, Lisbon, Portugal) 

The Blue Business Forum is organized by the AIP Foundation. The Blue Business Forum (BBF) is a major international business meeting of the maritime economy. Companies from different countries are invited to show their products and solutions, to be involved in B2B meetings and to participate in conferences, workshops and seminars. BBF showcases leading research projects, technology and innovation and counts on the participation of both academic institutions and startups.

Taking part in Blue Business Forum is a unique opportunity to share knowledge and doing business in the challenging context of the blue economy.

BIO International Conference (14th–18th June, Philadelphia, USA)

The world’s largest biotechnology gathering, the BIO Exhibition allows exhibitors to reach high-level executives and influential decision makers who come to BIO to discover new players in the industry, form partnerships and evaluate emerging technologies.
BIO covers the wide spectrum of life science innovations and application areas. Drug discovery, biomanufacturing, genomics, biofuels, nanotechnology and cell therapy are just a few of the industries represented at the BIO International Convention.
The four key elements of the event are:BIO Education Program, Networking Events, BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and BIO Exhibition.

Infoday Regional REDIT Programa Life 2015 (14 July 2015 Paterna, Valencia, Spain) 

The REDIT (Network of Technological Institutes of Valencia) in conjunction with Cámara de Valencia host an interesting event around European LIFE Programme. The event serves as a platform for establishing contacts with organizations from different sectors for the development of new projects under the 2015 call for the LIFE program.
The event allowed to disseminate results and success stories, such as the SEACOLORS Project and experience, recommendations and lessons learned when preparing proposals of LIFE projects.  

XX Cryptogamic Botany Symposium (22th-25th of July, Oporto, Portugal)

The Cryptogamic Botany Symposium is a biennial gathering of experts dedicated to the study of fungi, algae, lichens, bryophytes and ferns and the most important scientific meeting of this theme in the Iberian Peninsula. This Symposium aims to present and discuss the progress made to date, highlighting the growing importance of the study of the cryptogamic flora for ecosystem management and sustainability of land resources, biotechnological applications and development of methodologies for predicting the effects of local, regional and global environmental change.
Organizing committee strongly encourages the participation of all professionals who develop their activity in the area of ​​cryptogamic botany, including in addition to researchers and university students, professionals and representatives of other sectors of activity that promotes technical and scientific exchange and the exchange of expertise.

BioPharm America 2015 (15th -17th September, Boston, USA)

BioPharm America™ is where biotech industry partnerships get started. Meet face-to-face with biotech and pharma executives from around the world to identify and enter strategic relationships. Equipped with partneringONE®, the world’s leading web-based partnering system for the life science industry, BioPharm America is the only event in North America based on the same reputable formula as EBD Group’s acclaimed European events BIO-Europe® and BIO-Europe Spring®.


A network will be created in order to exchange experiences and results with other LIFE and EU projects with similar thematic that the present project:


AITEX disseminated the project though its stand in the ISPO MUNICH. In this fair, there were more than 80.000 visitors and 2.585 exhibitors.


Micro B3 - MaCuMBA - PharmaSea - Industry Expert Workshop

This second Industry Expert Workshop under the lead of the Ocean of Tomorrow project Micro B3 brought together academic and industrial scientists. It aimed to further the exchange of current approaches for the discovery of novel microbial strains, bioactives and engineering of marine-derived biocatalysts with the help of bioinformatics tools. Opportunities and challenges for understanding complex genome data and their application to discover new enzymes and bioactive compounds will be discussed.
Four focused sessions and a cross-sectoral panel discussion were planned:
Environmental biotechnology through marine microbial knowledge
Natural products based on marine biodiversity
Bioinformatic tools and methods for innovative blue biotechnology
New strategies for high throughput isolation of novel marine microorganisms 
Panel discussion on bioactives of marine origin – opportunities and challenges



The SUSTEXNET project ( and SEACOLORS project will meet in FOCUS INNOVA PYME 2015 event (

SUSTEXNET Project is aimed at the establishment of a cooperation network among main textile agents across the Mediterranean basin to increase the competitiveness and sustainability in the whole textile sector. The difference on the environmental treatment and impact of textile processes between different countries is an important aspect to take into consideration, representing the main objective of SUSTEXNET.
The SUSTEXTED Project is intended to socialize best and greener practices in textile sector, that such as SEACOLORS, look for introduce into the market new solutions minimizing the environmental impact. In the event FOCUS INNOVA PYME 2015, to be held on November 4th and 5th, both projects and companies around SUSTEXNET, interested in greener developments, will share information around textile finishings.



Life Dyes4ever( (LIFE12 ENV/ES/000309) Celebrated its final event and SEACOLORS was there. The event took place in ECOFIRA de VALENCIA ( on October 20th-23rd 2015.
DYES4EVER’s main aim is the demonstration and validation of the ability of cyclodextrins (CDs) as encapsulation agents for dyes, eliminating them from waste water so they can be recovered and reused as raw material, as well as obtaining less contaminated waste water that can also be reused.
Both projects share their effort in reducing the water waste, and making the textile finishing processes more sustainable since two different perspectives,etc.

As a networking and cooperation activity, all the studies generated in regard to the studies of synthetic dyes, could be an input for SEACOLORS project as a chemical data that will be used in the comparative analysis between synthetic dyes and those obtained from algae.


The Spanish Bank of Algae (BEA-ULPGC) and the Society for Economical Promotion of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) attended the 6th BioMarine International Business Convention celebrated from 12-14 October 2015 in Wilmington (NC, USA). BioMarine is the only international investment platform dedicated to marine Bio-resources. It brings together executives and CEO’s from industries related to marine ingredients, cosmetics, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, aquaculture, aquafeed, bio-energy and clean technologies. During the convention, initiatives covered not only meetings and exchanges for professionals in the industry, but all it is the strategic center of action and initiatives for key stakeholders in the marine bioresources sectors. Finance, research and industry use the platform to diversify cross-sectorial knowledge, strengthen existing partnerships, networking and build new opportunities.
 Sessions at BioMarine 2015, as well as it happened in Cascais 2014, covered most of the topics related to challenges facing the marine biotechnology industry in the next years including identification of new sources of marine bio-products, development of novel screening technologies, provision of sustainable sources of supply and optimization of production and recovery of commodities. Again, the latest developments in algal biotechnology, covering macro- and microalgae industrial applications and possibilities, played a key issue during the meeting.

Next 2016 Convention will be held in Oslo (Norway). More information:



In July, during the journey dedicated to companies dedicated to the seafood industry, the President of the Republic Aníbal Cavaco Silva was in Ílhavo where he visited, among others, the ALGAplus seaweed production unit designed to food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. He became aware of the potential of this marine resource and the research developed at ALGAplus, including the two EU projects where the company participates (, Later, in the working lunch with representatives of the activities, the President highlighted the enormous potential of aquaculture and called for the need to increase the investment in this area. He also recognized the difficulties experienced by the sector, praising the fact that entrepreneurs have not given up.

Note that this important visit of the Portuguese Head of State has allowed a national projection and dissemination of maritime component and businesses that contribute to the aquaculture sector and specifically the seaweed production and its potential applications.



European academic and aquaculture R&D phycologists presented the latest progresses and trends in the field of macroalgal morphogenesis, development and reproduction and their potential uses in seaweed aquaculture. Chinese Prof Shaojun Pang and Dr Feng Liu (IOCAS, Qingdao), and Indian Dr Vishal Gupta (CSIR-CSMCRI, Gujarat) were two of the invited speakers. The main aim of PHYCOMORPH is to unify a scattered European research landscape to enable a step-change in the basic knowledge of macroalgal reproduction and development, and to ensure appropriate and efficient transfer to R&D and Innovation Institutes dedicated to the development of aquaculture techniques, in tune with current needs in Europe and worldwide. The network is composed of international academic laboratories each addressing one or several issues related to macroalgal development. The dynamics of the network is based on regular meetings and student exchanges in order to share both recent progresses and experience in technical skills.


The sessions "BLUEBIO4PORTUGAL - Demonstrating success cases in Portuguese marine bio resources and biotech market applications" and "How to do Business in the Ocean"were presented last June in Lisbon.  The topics focused the example of what is being done at ALGAplus, concerning the cultivation process in Integrated Multi Trophic Aquaculture, promoting the potential of seaweed applications and the European projects in which ALGAplus is involved.

The Blue Business Forum was a three day international event organized by AIP Foundation integrating the Blue Week program to support entrepreneurship, business and investments in the Economy of the Sea, through exhibition of products and solutions, thematic conferences, technology and innovation shows and International B2B meetings. 



  • BioTechnica (6th-8th October)
  • CPhI Worldwide 2015 (13th-15th October)
  • BioEurope (2nd-4th November)
  • BIOLATAM 2015 (16th-17th November)
  • Forum do Mar 2015 (16th -19th November)
  • Fast Textile (25th-27th November)
  • Algae Europe 2015: 2nd European Algae Biomass Association and 9th International Algae Congress  (1st-3rd December)
  • From Farm To Fabric: The Many Faces Of Cotton - The 74th Plenary Meeting of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) (6th-11th December)
  • Biotech Showcase 2016 (11th-13th January 2016)
  • Algae Production and Networking Workshop (22nd - 23rd Jan 2016)
  • BioEurope Spring 2016 (4th-6th April 2016)
  • 6th Annual European Algae Biomass Summit  (20th-21th April 2016)
  • IDEA® 2016 International Engineered Fabrics Conference & Expo (2nd-5th May 2016)
  • Texprocess Americas 2016. Techtextil North America 2016 (3rd-5th May 2016)
  • 22nd International Seaweed Symposium (19th-24th June 2016)
  • 9th Asia-Pacific Conference on Algal Biotechnology “Algae for food, feed, fuel and beyond” (15th-18th November 2016)


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For further information:
AITEX Plaza Emilio Sala, 1
03801, Alcoy Alicante
Telf: 34 965 54 22 00
FAX: 34 965 54 34 94

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