for the hydrocolloids sector.
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After World War II (1939-1945), Japan, devastated, was looking for alternatives to the supply of various products, including agar-agar. A set of manufacturing units in Europe, namely in Portugal, Spain and France dedicated to the production of phycocolloids emerged.
Iberagar was created in 1964 in Alverca do Ribatejo as agar plant to meet this growing demand. Since the beginning, Iberagar has specialized in the extraction of biomolecules derived from marine macro-algae. Today it is a specialist in the supply of raw materials for the hydrocolloids sector.
The harvesting of algae biomass (Gelidium and Gracilaria) to produce agar-agar is the main commercial activity of Iberagar. The company has made a commitment to innovation and process development in order to maintain its leadership position.
Nowadays, Iberagar’s has invest in research projects and foster the development of innovative products and new applications able to face the challenges of a changing world.
Since the discovery of agar plates, which enabled researchers to isolate tuberculosis, cholera and other pathogenic bacteria, bacteriological agar has been derived from red algae belonging to the genus Gelidium. This type of agar is particularly sought after by research institutions, where it is used as a culture medium for microorganisms and in molecular biology techniques (agarose gel). Portugal presents ideal natural conditions to produce this species, demonstrated by its natural occurrence, historical abundance. Furthermore, it has a favourable geographic position, with an extensive coastline and a sunny climate, which favours the growth of biomass.
Seaweed harvesting, production and processing are commercial activities with high relevance for the development of the national blue growth and aquaculture strategies. Given the growing commercial interest of different sectors in algae biomasses, innovative solutions for this sector are of the utmost importance for national and European sustainability.