Dr Jessica Adams

BSc, PhD

Dr Jessica Adams

Research Fellow


Contact Details


Dr Jessica Adams is a Senior Research Scientist in Bioconversion and Biorefining, with a specialist interest in macroalgae (seaweeds), oats and aquatic plants.  Her research interests are: carbohydrate and higher value compound extractions and quantifications, novel enzyme discovery and larger (pilot) scale processing. She has a number of highly cited papers in this area (h-index=11) and has been PI or Co-I on grants worth +£3.1M including those from BBSRC, EPSRC, Welsh Government and Innovate UK. She has a number of highly cited peer-reviewed papers on macroalgae research and currently has a Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow, 4x PhD and 2x MSc students working within this area. She sits on boards for Algae-UK (BBSRC), Seafood Innovation Fund (Defra) and AberInnovation enterprise campus; and is a Non-executive Director of the company GreenSeas Resources

Additional Information

PhD studentships:

  • 2018-2021: Biorefining problem macroalgae to produce selected high value products. KESS2 studentship in conjunction with GreenSeas Resources 
  • 2018-2021: How does harvesting of problem macroalgae within Milford Haven affect the ecology of receiving habitats? KESS2 studentship in conjunction with GreenSeas Resources
  • 2021-2024: Producing an antiviral, antimicrobial, biodegradable plastic from seaweed. FoodBioSystems DTP studentship in collaboration with Cranfield University and Samworth Brothers
  • 2021-2024: Investigating the effect of a seaweed-derived common food ingredient (carrageenan) on the human gut microbiome. FoodBioSystems DTP studentship led by University of Reading in collaboration with Cargill.


Module Coordinator

I am the module coordinator for module Bioconversion and Biorefining BRM3720

I lecture on a range of modules (Aquatic Botany BR25820; Crop and Grassland Production Science BR32020, Current Topics in Biotechnology BRM0720; Bioconversion and Biorefining BRM3720).

I am a tutor to first years, through the semester 1 module Study and Communication skills (BR12410) and semester 2 modules Molecular Laboratory Skills (BR12210) or Wildlife Forensics (BR15720). Tutoring then continues throughout second year and for third year and Masters project students.



Macroalgae/seaweeds: I am interested in all aspects of macroalgae utilisation, from cultivation through to product with previous work including examination of drying, pressing and/or milling; water and chemical extractions; enzymic hydrolysis and/or fermentations; and thermal treatments to chars and composts. Access to the BEACON pilot-scale facility has enabled me to project manage a 1,000kg seaweed processing contract research project between summer 2020 – Feb 2021.

Long-term projects involved with:

BEACON. The BEACON Biorefining Centre of Excellence (www.beaconwales.org) focuses on company assistance and collaboration to improve the economics and skills within Wales. Within BEACON I have identified, arranged contracts with and completed 15 research and development collaborations with 9 different companies since 2017. I have another 2 collaborations with companies currently underway (both new companies). Collaboration work has included trialling novel processing (e.g. pressing), drying (e.g. belt drying) or filtering (e.g. cross-flow filtration) to generate new products or improve processes for the companies; other projects included conducting pot trials growing seedlings with company-supplied extracts or composts to assess their potential as plant fertilisers or composts.

Oats. Within the core strategic programme (CSP), (http://www.resilientcrops.org/) I am involved in the characterisation and quality analysis of β-glucan content within oat varieties.

Projects/Funding starting in 2021:

  • Marie Sklodowska Curie Action Fellowship on simultaneous saccharification and fermentation for valorising Ulva spp. from macroalgal blooms
  • FoodBioSystems DTP studentship: Producing an antiviral, antimicrobial, biodegradable plastic from seaweed. Collaboration with Cranfield University and Samworth Brothers
  • FoodBioSystems DTP studentship: Investigating the effect of a seaweed-derived common food ingredient (carrageenan) on the human gut microbiome. Led by University of Reading with Cargill.
  • University funded research (URF) determining the composition of two key commercial red seaweeds (Kappaphycus alvarezii and Eucheuma denticulatum) through their growth cycle. Collaboration with Marine Algae Products, a company in the Philippines
  • University funded research (CIDRA) determining the composition of mature and juvenile brown sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima). Collaboration with Car y Mor, a Welsh seaweed cultivation company
  • Joy Welch Educational Memorial Trust funding to steam explode green seaweed (Ulva spp.) to determine this technique as a route for releasing valuable sugars.

Starting in 2020:

  • Contract research for processing 1 tonne brown kelp (Saccharina latissima and Laminaria digitata) to multiple product outputs.
  • Fishmongers’ Company MSc sponsorship award to trial green seaweed-derived char (Ulva spp.) as a soil amendment
  • Business Innovation Voucher from BBNet NIBB, BBSRC with contract research-paid extension to explore hydrolysis and fermentation of innovatively-processed municipal solid waste.  

Research Groups

  • Natural Resources and the Circular Economy


Brown, A, Adams, J, Grasham, O, Carmargo-Valero, M & Ross, A 2020, 'An assessment of different integration strategies of hydrothermal carbonisation and anaerobic digestion of water hyacinth', Energies, vol. 13, no. 22, 5983. 10.3390/en13225983
Gallagher, J, Adams, J, Turner, L, Kirby, ME, Toop, T, Mirza, W & Theodorou, M 2020, 'Bio-processing of macroalgae Palmaria palmata: Metabolite fractionation from pressed fresh material and ensiling considerations for long-term storage', Journal of Applied Phycology. 10.1007/s10811-020-02295-x
Adams, JMM, Turner, LB, Toop, TA, Kirby, ME, Rolin, C, Judd, E, Inkster, R, Mcevoy, L, Mirza, WM, Theodorou, MK & Gallagher, J 2020, 'Evaluation of pyrolysis chars derived from marine macroalgae silage as soil amendments', GCB Bioenergy. 10.1111/gcbb.12722
Grace, O, Lovett, JC, Gore, CJN, Moat, J, Ondo, I, Pironon, S, Langat, MK, Pérez-Escobar, OA, Ross, A, Abbo, MS, Shrestha, KK, Gowda, B, Farrar, K, Adams, J, Cámara-Leret, R, Diazgranados, M, Ulian, T, Sagala, S, Rianawati, E, Hazra, A, Masera, OR, Antonelli, A & Wilkin, P 2020, 'Plant Power: Opportunities and challenges for meeting sustainable energy needs from the plant and fungal kingdoms', Plants, People, Planet, vol. 2, no. 5, pp. 446-462. 10.1002/ppp3.10147
Greetham, D, Adams, JM & Du, C 2020, 'The utilization of seawater for the hydrolysis of macroalgae and subsequent bioethanol fermentation', Scientific Reports, vol. 10, no. 1, 9728. 10.1038/s41598-020-66610-9
More publications on the Research Portal