Everything you need to know about Algal Biotechnology

Microalgae are a great resource as they can be farmed without competing for arable land and food production. They are used as local strains that are efficient producers of lipids, crude protein, and nutraceuticals (nutritional supplements), then optimize these by using adaptive evolution and metabolic engineering. It is one of the most promising sectors of biotech.

Why choose algae?

Microalgae (algae) are rich in nutrients and easy to grow, which promotes good health. The land used to grow algae can be non-arable land as long as it has access to a source of water (e.g., saline, brackish, or wastewater).

The land used to grow algae can be non-arable land as long as it has access to a source of water (e.g., saline, brackish, or wastewater). Algae are a cost-effective source of producing fuel, feed, and neutraceuticals all year round with minimal use of land. For example, oil yields from microalgae are approximately ten times higher than from palm oil. This is an important prerequisite for large-scale commercial production of biofuels.

Algae cultivation is mostly done in laboratories, on rooftop demonstration facilities, and also in algae Energy Farm.

How is the algae culture done?

First, the algae from both saltwater and freshwater environments are collected, cultured, and characterization of them is done by using DNA extraction/sequencing and metabolite analysis for the identification of specific strains.

The most promising algae are then used in an adaptive evolution experiment to select for algae with certain attributes, e.g., high lipid accumulation properties.

Bioprocess engineering for algae cultivation and maximum lipid accumulation is done. Then scale up algae cultures, and after extensive outdoor testing at the pilot-scale, algae are grown at large scale in Algae Energy Farm.

How are algae being used?

There are plenty of uses of algae, and the global demand for algae is increasing. The main products created from algae are:

1. Biodiesel

2. Protein-rich cattle feed

3. Nutrient-based supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids

4. Phytosterols for the food industry

Where is it grown?

Large quantities of algae are required to make products such as protein-rich cattle feed, so large facilities are required to produce big yields of algae.

A low-tech approach to algae cultivation and harvesting is done. But an efficient approach for low-cost production of biodiesel, protein-rich biomass, and nutraceuticals from microalgae.

Once optimized, each of these modules can be used for scale-up by using hundreds or thousands of modules as required by the demand and growth conditions in loc.

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