Seaweed as Cattle Feed

The project will aim to evaluate how the inclusion of this additive specifically influences the fatty acid composition of the resultant meat products.

Project Dates: June 22, 2020 – June 21, 2021
Funding Amount: $25,000
Students Hired: 2

NIC Researcher Dr. Spencer Serin (right) and industry partner, Edgar Smith, visits cattle at Beaver Meadow farm.

Project Summary

North Island College chemistry instructor, Dr. Spencer Serin, has partnered with a local farming company to research the effects of adding seaweed to cattle feed.

Beaver Meadow Farms, an organic cattle farm located on northern Vancouver Island, will work with Dr. Serin to assess the overall health benefits of meat products. Beaver Meadow Farms has been harvesting stormcast Mazzaella japonica for the past five years and has been using the macroalgae as a feed additive for their cattle. Dr. Serin will research how the invasive red seaweed Mazzaella japonica may influence the fatty acid composition of the resultant meat products.

The project will involve NIC laboratory facilities and student researchers. Technical skills learned by NIC students will be directly transferable to the Canadian beef and dairy sectors.

Research Team

Dr. Spencer Serin
Dr. Spencer Serin, Research Associate
Dr. Serin has his Ph.D in Chemistry from the University of British Columbia. For the past two years, Dr. Serin has organized and overseen the project on the evaluation of M. japonica as a feed additive for beef cattle as a Mitacs postdoctoral fellow in ruminant nutrition for the department of Natural Resource Sciences at Thompson Rivers University.
Lucas Evans
Lucas Evans, NIC Senior Lab Technician
Lucas is the Senior Laboratory Technician for NIC’s Comox Valley Campus. He holds a Masters degree in Geology and has 15 years of experience working in academic and industrial labs in North America and Australia. Lucas facilitates CARTI and NSERC activities being hosted at the Comox Valley Science labs, and believes deeply in the professional and academic development these research bodies can inspire students to attain.
Mary Rickinson
Mary Rickinson, Student
Mary is 3rd year undergraduate at NIC. For the last 4 years Mary has fulfilled several roles at the college, namely as the External Relations Director for the North Island Students’ Union (NISU, Local 15). She is currently the Federation Representative representing all Members of NISU at the provincial level in the British Columbia Federation of Students. Mary is passionate about science education at every level of learning, taking every chance offered to encourage others to “take chances, make mistakes and get messy” (Frizzle). She will be completing her BSc Psychology at Vancouver Island University in upcoming semesters.
Angela Mitchell
Angela Mitchell, Student
Angela is a third-year microbiology student at UVic, having just transferred after her first two years at NIC. She is passionate about epidemiology and public health. She likes to practice microbiology at home by creating fermented foods such as kombucha or kimchi. She is also involved with volunteering for local non-profit, Project Watershed.

Partners Beaver Meadows Farm

News Stories and Coverage