Ava Peloquin, then a fourth grader at Portland's East End Community School, examines a piece of sugar kelp in this BDN file photo. Buxton-based VitaminSea will receive $600,000 in federal grant funding to develop a kelp-based additive for bread.

The federal government is awarding a Buxton company $600,000 in grant money to develop a seaweed additive for bread, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, announced Wednesday.

The company, VitaminSea, previously received funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Small Business Innovation Research program in 2017 to study using kelp in bread-making. The funding announced Wednesday will be used to develop a prototype of the so-called SeaKelp+ additive, partner with bakeries on recipes for it and conduct market testing, Pingree’s office said.

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“Some of the most exciting things about Maine aquaculture right now are consumers’ growing awareness of seaweed’s nutritional benefits and the innovative products local businesses are making with it,” Pingree said in a statement.

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Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.