Valera Lucena Dias
Project: Evaluation of Eucheumoids cultivation and exploitation in the Southern of
Country of nationality:
Host Organisation & country:
Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), Mozambique
Africa has several macroalgae which are underexploited, yet they are rich resources with wide applications in human and animal nutrition, agriculture, pharmacy, cosmetic, among others. There is need to cultivate certain species of macroalgae and improve the techniques of their large-scale production. Dr Valera and her team will be investigating the sustainability of cultivating and processing macroalgae in the Southern part of Mozambique.
Dr Valera Dias is a member of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), and is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences at Eduardo Mondlane University. She obtained her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Cape Town, where she was focused in Biotechnology, investigating the effect of a probiotic supplemented diet (based in macroalgae and microorganisms) in the immune system abalone, a marine cultivated organism under aquaculture system.
Dr Valera Dias has been studying the potential of biotechnological application of marine macroalgae that occur in the southern of Mozambique. She aims to find some solution that can answer the issues from the rural communities in the coastal zone, such as alternative source of activities and incomes, through the cultivation of certain macroalgae species. She will be conducting a scientific study related to the improvement of cultivation and processing of these species, extraction of bioactive compounds and other potential biotechnological application.
Project: Evaluation of Eucheumoids cultivation and exploitation in the Southern of Mozambique
In this project the cultivation of Kappaphycus alvarezii and Eucheuma denticulatum will be implemented in two different sites in the Southern of Mozambique. The experimental procedure will follow the floating longline method and the cultivation will be deployed in an area of approximately 300 m2. The sample of macroalgae will be harvested at 15-day intervals in order to determine the daily growth rate, morphological characteristics, as well as other relevant aspects, such as epiphyte loads that may decrease production. After 60 days, approximately 80% of the macroalgae will be collected and air dried. Periodic monitoring of environmental conditions and social impacts will be conducted: (1) daily environmental conditions will be evaluated (temperature, salinity, etc); weekly, visit site will be performed to monitor the longline structures; (2) social activities will be record and community consultations will be held to find out people's point of view regarding the project. Meanwhile, workshops and talks will be given to the local communities in order to familiarize them with the importance of macroalgae. The second part of the project will be concentrated in processing of the biomass in order to identify, extract and process potential product of interest such as carrageenan, antioxidants and other bioactive compounds. The last part of the project will be dedicated to report our finds to the scientific community, to the local communities (involving them, so they can have an alternative income-generating opportunities), and the society in general (so they can accept the products and invest in this activity).