Groupe Roullier news : Innovation


World Oceans Day: Are algae a solution of the future?

World Oceans Day: Are algae a solution of the future?

Written by Groupe Roullier / published in Innovation

Algae are an essential part of the marine ecosystem, and are capable of surviving in extreme climatic conditions, whether submerged in sea water or out in the open air, exposed to sun and rain, all while producing substantial amounts of biomass. Algae are able to colonise incredibly varied environments, from deep-sea to volcanoes and even to the atmosphere. 

Whether algae are used for Animal or Plant Nutrition, they are one of the most promising prospects for the future. Their rich mineral content derived from their marine environment, specifically calcium and magnesium, means that they have numerous beneficial properties.

For plant growth:

  • stimulation of root development
  • resistance to stress
  • improved mineral absorption

For the efficacy and quality of animal nutrition:

  • an alternative source of protein
  • regulation of the digestive flora
  • strengthening of the immune system

This is why they are currently a key focus of the agronomic research being carried out by the Centre Mondial de l’Innovation Roullier. Our researchers are studying how they work and their beneficial effects.   

Ever since the Group was founded, we have been interested in algae and their exceptional properties. This is principally down to our geographical location. Indeed both the original Group headquarters and the CMI Roullier are located in Brittany (France), and there are over 800 varieties of algae growing off the Breton coasts. The very high tides force the algae to adapt by concentrating the relevant molecules in order to withstand the difficult conditions.

Today the production and sourcing of algae for the Groupe Roullier are entrusted to our subsidiary, NUWEN. At the Pleubian site in Brittany, fresh algae are brought in and dried, once they have been meticulously sorted to ensure that any impurities such as sand, shells, and pebbles have been removed.

For example it treats wrack, a mix of brown, red, and green macroalgae or broad-leafed seaweed. The wrack is hand-gathered by pickers at the season of the high tides, and delivered to the factory as quickly as possible to preserve its freshness.

Once they have been cleaned and sorted, the different algae are processed depending on their properties and their intended use: for cosmeticsfood, health, and Plant Nutrition or Animal Nutrition purposes.

At the Centre Mondial de l’Innovation Roullier, our researchers carefully select the different algae varieties provided by NUWEN to meet the needs of the industry. Depending on the intended objective, such as improved resistance to water stress, our teams will find the best way to extract and concentrate their active natural compounds. These algae extracts will be used in our end products for Animal and Plant Nutrition and will be made available to our customers.

Experts estimate that the total number of species of algae run into the millions, of which only several tens of thousand are actually catalogued. This opens up a world of possibilities and a whole host of innovations to discover and explore. 

Learn about their principal properties: 


1. Cosmetics

Algues 1

Known and valued for their antioxidant, moisturising, anti-ageing and other properties, they are sold in powder form for the manufacture of the algal wraps used in spas, thalassotherapy centres and face masks.

2. Food

Algues 2

Edible raw and cooked, algae are also highly prized by the food industry for their functional properties as texturising ingredients and colourants, as well as for their nutritional benefits. They are used particularly in the production of ready meals, in the manufacture of flavours and as a calcium supplement in vegetable-based milks.

3. Health

 Algues 5

As well as being high in vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, E and K), fibre, minerals and trace elements, their antioxidant benefits make them an ideal ally in the quest for healthy living.

4. Animal Nutrition

Algues 3

Algae are known for their many benefits for animal health and wellbeing. They strengthen the immune system, have an anti-inflammatory action, are rich in vitamins and have antioxidant properties.

5. Plant Nutrition

Algues 4

In plant nutrition, they are sold to other Groupe Roullier subsidiary companies in the form of flours for the production of fertilisers or as extracts for their biostimulant properties.