Patented seaweed helps make the world a better place
A Sellwood resident – when he is not teaching at the Oregon State University College of Business – is also building a business of his own with a particular hybrid of seaweed, bred and patented by Oregon State, at its Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.In what turns out to be the second-most-widely-reported press release from OSU ever, it was announced in July of 2015 that, "Oregon State University researchers have patented a new strain of a succulent red marine algae called 'dulse' that grows extraordinarily quickly, is packed full of protein, and has an unusual trait when it is fried: This seaweed tastes like bacon. Dulse (Palmaria sp.) grows in the wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines."
Speaking via the Zoom videoconferencing application to a Monday noon meeting of Southeast Portland Rotary on May 4, Chuck Toombs – who lives near the Willamette River, on S.E. Marion Street – revealed that although the University had obtained the patent before he joined its College of Business, it was his idea to let the world know about "dulse" through that press release.
And, being quite entrepreneurial, he went on to discover that this seaweed yields 20% protein, grows 7.5% per day, and consumes a pound of carbon dioxide per five pounds of growth – which suggests that it could play a significant role not only in feeding a growing world population, but also in reducing global warming. "Growing 13 square miles of the seaweed on a salt-water aquiculture farm in the Eastern Oregon desert could make Oregon carbon-neutral all by itself!" he exclaimed.
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