What are Algae?

Algae were part of the first organisms in the world. They first emerged about 3.5 billion years ago. There are many thousands of species all over the world. Several hundred are being cultivated for research or commercial purposes. Many types of algae grow phototrophically, which means that light is used as the main energy source to convert carbon dioxide into valuable biomass through photosynthesis - five times more efficiently than land plants. This means - Algae are essential for our climate.

It is commonly known that algae live in water like oceans, lakes and rivers. But what only few people know: as plaits algae live in symbiosis with mushrooms on trees. They can even live in desserts, ice or the fur of a sloth.

What is really impressing about algae is the wide range of varieties: while some kinds of microalgae can not even be seen with the naked eye, some other species reach as huge seaweed a height of 40 meters. As there are so many species. the differentiation is accordingly complex: algae can be categorized by their size in micro and macro algae or by their visual appearance in green algae, red algae, brown algae, blue algae and diatoms. Another differentiation can be made between marine algae and freshwater algae. Marine saltwater algae are often used for cosmetic usage and cures. Nowadays, especially the Asian kitchen is hard to imagine without marine algae. What they all have in common: they obtain a lot of iodine, so they are very popular as a dietary supplement. On the other hand, freshwater algae are commonly known as fully adequate nutrition. AFA algae, Spirulina and Chlorella can be classified as sweetwater algae.

For industry, especially microalgae are of high value. The cultivation quality of these algae is crucial as it determines the quality of the end product to a high extend. As they are rich in valuabe ingredients such as proteins, lipids, pigments, antioxidants and acids, they have very versatile uses.

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