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Flinders University hosts a visit from the SeaStock team as research enters phase two

Flinders University College of Science and Engineering Professor Jian Qin, and research officers Dr Thanh Hoang, Dr Trung Nguyen and Dr Pengfei Fu hosted a visit from industry and research partners, SeaStock, last week.

The Project team with SeaStock Managing Director Tom Puddy, and the company’s Chief Technical Officer Tom Chaney

SeaStock is an innovative, WA based aquaculture company focused on the commercialization of a natural Western Australian grown feed supplement for livestock which is derived from the red seaweed, Asparagopsis, which is native to the WA coast.

The Flinders research team is working with the SeaStock team on a joint project aimed at developing sustainable quality assured technologies focused on deriving methane-reducing feed supplement products from Asparagopsis – which contains a naturally occurring compound known as bromoform which is known to counteract the formation of methane in the cow’s stomach.

SeaStock Managing Director Tom Puddy, and the company’s Chief Technical Officer, Tom Chaney, spent three days at the Flinders University last week meeting with the research team, visiting the laboratories and getting a first-hand update on the research team’s progress.

SeaStock Managing Director Tom Puddy visited the Center for Marine Bioproducts Development – Medical Biotechnology – Flinders University.

The three-day workshop enabled the SeaStock team to view the research team’s laboratory facilities, further understand the progress the team has made during phase one of the research project and discuss phase two, which is now underway and is expected to last through to 2024.

The methane-reducing feedstock is being developed to decrease the methane emissions of ruminant livestock. Methane, one of the key greenhouse gases (GHGs), accounts for 20% of global carbon emissions and has been identified as a key contributor to climate change.

Phase one of the research project was conducted on-site at SeaStock’s Abrolhos Islands site – where red algal samples were collected – and later it was genetically identified as A. taxiformis by the Flinders Accelerator for Microbiome Exploration (FAME).

The Flinders team is working with FutureFeed and GrainCorp to determine and confirm the bromoform content of samples of AT from the Abrolhos Islands. The Flinders researcher has been able to induce and germinate carpospores at the Abrolhos Aquaculture Hatchery, located off the coast of Geraldton. The tetrasporophytes have been successfully cultivated in the lab.

SeaStock Managing Director Tom Puddy visited aquaculture lab – Flinders university

SeaStock is focused on commercializing the production of methane-reducing feedstock and will play a pivotal role in facilitating the fledgling carbon-free livestock food production industry via the addition of Asparagopsis-based supplements to the diets of ruminant livestock.

It is the only company in Western Australia granted a license to commercially supply the seaweed-based feedstock by the global patent holder, Future Feed.

The addition of just a small amount of the bromoform-based supplement has been proven to reduce CH4 production by up to 98% and has the potential for use in applications as diverse as sunscreens and skin care products, vaccine adjuvants and meat and seafood analogues.

Phase two of the research project, which is now underway, will build on the knowledge and results of phase one and will focus on the extraction of bromoform from the samples collected and develop a viable process for the efficient extraction of bromoform that is commercially viable in large quantities.


Research Scientist

Dr Sanjana Senthilkumar is a Ph.D. graduate of Philosophy in Biosciences and Bioengineering, from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, and holds a Bachelor of Technology in biochemistry from Sathyabama University, in India. During this time Sanjana gained vast research knowledge on plant secondary metabolites and their physiochemical properties. Her nearly decade-long experience spans across plant tissue culture, natural product chemistry, photo-physics, and various analytical techniques. She possesses skill in experimental design, research review, execution, data analysis, and scientific writing. She has led and executed a research entrepreneurship project, which involved design, development, and patenting of an innovative apparatus for use in chemistry laboratories. Additionally, she has undertaken several roles as a trainer, teaching assistant, supervisor, instrument operator, and laboratory demonstrator. Sanjana has been appointed to the position of Research Scientist to support the next phase of the Company’s commercial growth. Tasked specifically with helping establish a scientific approach to developing sustainable and commercially viable biomass growth of macro algae.


Production Technician

In 2023 Zoe completed a Bachelors in Coastal and Marine Science at Curtin University. During her study Zoe also gained work experience as an aquaculture volunteer, including roles with PhD students and Department Primary Industry Resource Development (DPIRD).  In addition Zoe worked at the Geraldton TAFE commercial hatchery, which introduced her knowledge to cultivate Asparagopsis seaweed and aquaculture operations.
Within completing Zoe's degree, she also completed field work studies on fish behaviours and interacted with multiple marine based professionals.  Zoe had access to innovative technology that made her learning & experiences much more immersive and accessible, enabling her to gain experience in technologies, equipment and platforms used within the aquaculture research industry.  Zoe is thrilled to be a part of the Seastock science team, which has further ignited her passion for the ocean and participating in work which will benefit the state of our climate. Working towards a more positive future for all.