The cereal of the sea, here is the food of the future that comes from the depths

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He, Angel Leonis known as the chef of the sea and works in his restaurant, 3 Michelin stars, Aponiente in Cadiz, Spain. She, Costa Cruises Foundation, is a non-profit organization which aims to generate social and environmental improvement in the communities that Costa ships visit on their voyages. From the union was born a partnership committed to studying and developing an alternative of food for the future.

It all starts with an idea by chef León who discovers the numerous properties of the marine plant called seaweed and which he nicknames sea ​​grain for those particular seeds that can be consumed as they are or transformed into related products such as bread and pasta.

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The sea cereal, super food of the future

Sea grain, discovers the Research & Development team of the Aponiente restaurant, brings benefits to the ecosystem enriching its biodiversity, mitigate climate changemanaging to absorb and store large quantities of carbon, e produces a seed that is considered a super food due to its nutritional properties, including the absence of gluten and the high concentration of omega 6 and 9. This is a pioneering worldwide project that the Costa Crociere Foundation has decided to support for its environmental and social aspects. Indeed, thanks to the agreement established last June, the cultivation area – thanks to the intervention of Costa Cruises – can be extended and the voice of the project amplified.

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In the past, the seeds of Zostera marina were part of the diet of indigenous groups, but it is the first time in the world that this plant is cultivated for the production of seeds, which may one day reach a commercial market. Costa Cruises, committed to developing increasingly sustainable practices, has decided to support the project to extend the cultivation area of ​​this sea gardenwhile also increasing the production of cereals.

The properties of the sea grain

The purpose of this cultivation is to create a more sustainable diet by exploiting marine products, beyond fish. Sea grain is gluten free, rich in omega 6 and 9, has 13% high quality protein, 82% carbohydrates (50% starch) and less than 2% fat compared to rice , barley, wheat, oats or corn. Another advantage of this plant is that its cultivation is sustainable as it can grow without fresh water and without using fertilizers or pesticides and can represent a strategic economic resource for disadvantaged areas, having a potentially higher profitability than other types of terrestrial cereals.

The experimental cultivation of Zostera marina has also aroused the interest of the scientific committee of the United Nations Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, which has noted how these crops contribute to the protection of marine biodiversity, constituting an aquatic ecosystem particularly rich in fauna. Furthermore, the Zostera marina crops, in addition to absorbing and retaining a large amount of carbon in the sediments, are also able to protect coasts from erosion.

The future of the project

After the success achieved a El Toruno, to achieve the goals set with Costa Cruises for the “cereal of the sea” project, it is necessary to expand the experimental cultivation in a new area. Aponiente’s team is working to transfer the Zostera Marina crop to a recently restored and managed fish-farming estuary called marine farm of San Carlosin the heart of the Doñana Natural Area, with a total area of ​​70.40 hectares.

According to the project milestones, the expansion of the growing area of ​​1,000m2 in San Carlos is expected to be completed in summer 2023, then to 3,000m2 in summer 2024 and 10,000m2 at the end of 2025. The Costa Crociere Foundation & Aponiente’s “marine cereal” project fits perfectly into the FAO Sustainable Development Goals and its development contributes to achieving the 2030 Agenda.

Source: Vanity Fair

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