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Bay of Plenty seaweed could boost athletes

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Athletes could soon be turning to Bay of Plenty seaweed to give them a protein boost, thanks to revolutionary work being carried out in Tauranga.

A team from the University of Waikato Adams High Performance Centre in Tauranga is creating the supplement, designed to maximise muscle protein synthesis, akin to whey, in sport supplements.

The group of scientists and students from the university have spent summer researching native seaweed species off the Bay of Plenty coast looking for algae that has the same amino acid composition as whey.

Bay of Connections portfolio manager Cheryl Lewis said the research sat well with the Regional Growth Strategy and the area's burgeoning aquaculture industry.

She said a task for the Regional Aquatic Organisation (RAO) when it was established was to investigate bio-opportunities in the region, including nutraceuticals.

"This is a really significant step for aquaculture in the Bay of Plenty and it shows the industry has more than just amazing seafood to offer."

The university team is led by RAO member Professor Chris Battershill, who said the Bay of Plenty offered so many benefits for the type of work they're doing.

"Tauranga is one of the most ideal places in the country to test this. We have the infrastructure and expertise, as well as the diversity of cold and sub-tropical water."

Environmental exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist Dr Stacy Sims said the seaweed supplement was attractive to individuals who were vegans, lactose intolerant, or allergic to dairy products.

Research and product development should be completed by the end of the year when human performance trial will take place.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

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