Scientists of the EU looking for health recipes in algae

[EU] What we eat, what we heal, how we look? Scientists believe single-celled organisms from a test tube able to significantly change our lives for the better – if we learn to grow them in the right scale and with the desired characteristics. The Futuris programme invites you to understand.

Unpretentious and useful

Scientific and academic centre in the Dutch Wageningen specialize on healthy eating and lifestyle. There is already two dozen years studying protozoa, growing them in containers with sea water. A little carbon dioxide, nourishment and sunlight is the key to successful development and rapid reproduction of microorganisms.

Hans Reith, project coordinator Miracles, shows and tells: “This is a suspension of micro-algae, microscopic plants that we study here in Wageningen. These microorganisms – a rich and a scalable source of a number of useful derivatives”.

The range of applications of microalgae – food additives, drugs, cosmetics, animal feed… they even add in plastic. Tiny microorganisms contain valuable oils, proteins, antioxidants and vitamins. Their cultivation does not require fertile soil.

Hans Reith, project coordinator Miracles: “We grow algae in sea water. What else in agriculture, you can grow in salt water? Such pipes can be easily placed on malodoratus the soil, in the desert, where on earth nothing will grow”.

On taste and color…

Scientists of the European research project looking for ways to reduce the cost of production and processing of microalgae. There is a demand from several industries, including food and pharmaceutical.

Philip Viles, a biochemist: “the algae and pleasing to the eye – they can be green, red, yellow if you want. It’s beautiful , and so they can be used in the design. And here we used their nutritional value in bioplastic: these products gradually decompose in nature, releasing valuable minerals”.

Project participants work closely with the real sector. Among their partners is a Spanish company Fitoplancton Marino, producing an average of 2 tons of dried microalgae per year. Her the researchers compared the hundreds of types and selected the most in demand. The best specimens are bred in photobioreactors with computer control.

Carlos Unamunda, a marine biologist: “We’re monitoring the temperature, cooling the reactors with water, supported by the right level of acidity of the water, the lighting, the removal of oxygen (the latter is very important, because when photosynthesis produces oxygen). For algae is created is not the most comfortable mode, but that’s what they produce, we need bioactive components”.

Reports fry

Grown microalgae is filtered off and dried by using freezing, resulting in dry powder. It uses the Portuguese firm Sparos, investigating the potential of microalgae for the production of fish food. Rich in proteins, fats and vitamins microorganisms tested in the new combination recipes.

Jorge Diaz, a marine biologist: “it is important to understand how the presence in the feed of serovodoroda effect on fish (we see only the pros). Experts estimate the health of fish receiving the experimental food, stress, overall tone.”

The first results are inspiring: the fish receiving the diet of microalgae grow well. Now scientists involved in the experiment and the adults. The verdict is eagerly waiting for entrepreneurs to connect to the production of environmentally friendly, nutritious and palatable feed for the animals.


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