Harvesting algae and crafting innovative new chemical ingredients is all great fun—but someone needs to be figuring out how to turn the products from the lab into the kind of products we can eat, wear, rub on our skins and make use of in our everyday lives.
At Origin by Ocean, that someone is now Mamata Bhattarai. Her appointment as Lead Applications Activist comes as the company shifts from process development towards piloting activities, industrialisation and commercial scale.
Building a new industry
With numerous potential applications across food, cosmetics, and textiles, Mamata is enthusiastic about the possibilities of algae-based ingredients and the prospect of seeing the fruits of her work turn into real commercial products: “There are countless possibilities with algae biochemicals — I won’t get bored easily!”
Indeed, Mamata’s role at Origin by Ocean is part of the gradual maturation of a new industry providing bio-based alternatives to traditionally oil-based ingredients. With ongoing regulatory initiatives seeking to protect the environment from harmful chemicals, and growing industry demand for functional ingredients, Origin by Ocean is preparing to play a key role in the development of the new innovative and sustainable seaweed industry.
A highly qualified professional in the application of novel materials
Mamata joins Origin by Ocean following several years as a postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University. Her doctoral research on food applications of wood hemicelluloses at the University of Helsinki won recognition from the Natural Resources Research Foundation Finland and garnered interest from several biorefinery sector stakeholders. During her doctoral research on food applications of wood hemicelluloses at the University of Helsinki University, Mamata won the Food Solutions Award of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology for developing a plant-based aerated dessert.
Mamata expects that her new role will be very dynamic—exploring and experimenting to see what can be done with Origin by Ocean’s many interesting algae-based ingredients. After researching algae-based materials during her earlier research career, she kept up with developments in the algae community during her work on applications of wood hemicelluloses. “I always thought algaes were cool — super diverse and full of interesting compounds: polysaccharides, bioactive compounds, lipids, and proteins, which can be used in countless applications including food, feed, cosmetics, textiles and packaging.”
Joining a dynamic team with a mission
Already an algae-enthusiast, Mamata first learned about Origin by Ocean when she saw CEO and founder Mari Granström introduce the company at a conference. She was excited to see that someone had started an algae refining company in Finland and pounced on the opportunity to join the effort.
The rest of us at Origin by Ocean certainly share the excitement. “My first impression is that the team is extremely energetic and active,” Mamata says of her first weeks at the company. “Everyone is working towards achieving a goal, everyone has one mission.”