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Taiwan unveils new technique for green caviar farming

2012/05/30 19:38:37

Taipei, May 30 (CNA) The Tungkang Biotechnology Research Center under the Council of Agriculture said Wednesday that it has developed a new technique for farming sea grapes, a species of seaweed with high economic value, after nearly five years of research.

The research team has overcome limitations such as water quality, temperature and light to set up a farming model for culturing the seaweed, which is also known as green caviar, said Su Huei-mei, who is in charge of the project.

The team uses caulerpa microphysa, a type of local algae, to develop the seaweed, which can grow up to 30 cm in length in 30 days, Su said.

Sea grapes, which taste a bit like caviar, is a very popular ingredient in Japan, where it is known as umibido, Su said.

It is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acid, vitamins B2 and E, and various minerals.

The farming technique in Japan only allows the sea grapes' stem to grow to 10 cm, Su noted, adding that the growth cycle takes 25 days in summer and 50 days in winter.

However, Su said it will take another year before the Taiwan-grown sea grapes will reach store shelves as mass production trials are still underway.

(By Yang Su-min and Hanna Liu)