Learn on this site about the various fields of applications from algae: from nutrition, to the production of fuels, to cosmetics and to dietary supplements.
Macro algae are often consumed as human nutrition in salads or as steamed vegetable. An estimated 9 million tons of macro algae are annually consumed in Southeast Asia. In Europe the best known algae is probably the Nori-algae (red algae) that is processed in sushi. Eating algae is considered very beneficial for the human health as algae contain a high share of carbohydrates, trace elements, minerals and unsaturated fatty acids.
Algae contain proteins and are often used in fish farms as feed additives.
Microalgae are often processed into dietary supplements in the form of tablets, capsules, powder or drinks. As algae contain many valuable nutrients for humans‘ health.
So some kinds of dietary supplements have an positive effect on the immune defense and digestion. Furthermore, algae can improve the uptake of nutrients.
Besides, algae can be processed into dietary fatty acids which are essential for humans‘ cognitive capability.
In the following you can find further information on two of the most popular dietary supplement products made from algae: Spirulina and DHA.
Spirulina is an algae species belonging to the blue algae (=Cyanobacteria). It is processed as whole to tablets or powder for the purpose of dietary supplement. Sometimes it is also processed in common nutrition as an ingredient with an extra high extent of nutrients. Due to its high protein content it is also used in fish food and cat food. Besides, the alternative medicine believes in an positive impact of spirulina on humans’ immune defense and digestion. Spirulina algae are supposed to lower blood pressure and cholesterol level and to improve the uptake of nutrients. At the production of spirulina algae the protein content per surface is 200 times as high than at an equal production of beef.
People‘s reception of unsaturated fatty acids is significantly lower than the recommended daily amount. Here, DHA from algae can produce relief. The product is made from microalgae and offered as dietary supplement in the form of capsules. Unsaturated fatty acids appear mainly in our brain or retina and fulfill important metabolic functions. As a consequence of food supplement with unsaturated fatty acids scientists observed an improvement of the cognitive abilities of the test persons. Especially expectant mothers are advised to take unsaturated fatty acids in the form of capsules to ensure a normal development of the child’s brain and eyes.
The carotenoid Astaxanthin is about the most powerful antioxidant known. Absorbed by the human body, Astaxanthin supports the body’s inherent healing power to damaged cellular structures and has anti-inflammatory properties. It is beneficial in relieving oxidative stress throughout the body, while also reducing recovery time following exercise.
Waste-Water Recycling – algae clean water from nitrates and phosphates
Inorganic substances like nitrates and phosphates in sewage water from domestic, agricultural or industrial activities are part of water pollution and lead to unwanted algae blooms in lakes. These compounds can be removed by precipitation with the aid of chemical agents, or - in a ‘greener´ way – they might serve as nutrition for algae in a controlled way and thus removed, before the water is discharged. As an advantageous side effect, valuable biomass is produced, which can be used for several purposes (see above). Furthermore, algae can also remove heavy metals and some organic toxic compounds, so they do not cause secondary pollution.
Algae are especially popular for the usage in cosmetics.
Algae contain a high share of proteins, they can provide the skin with energy and protect it from draining.
Besides, the vitamins and beta-carotin of algae protect the skin from environmental impacts and operates rejuvenating.
Algae can be used to produce different types of biofuel like biodiesel, ethanol, biojet-fuel or green gasoline. Algae biodiesel, for example, burns cleaner and more efficiently than other fuels. As algae can be grown almost limitless under the right conditions, it is a very interesting and renewable alternative to fossil fuels. Algae require carbon dioxide, CO2, for their growth, which is the reason why algae biodiesel manufacturers often build their manufacturing sites close to energy manufacturing plants as they provide an inexpensive source of carbon-dioxide and algae growth an opportunity for CO2 reuse. The lipids from the biomass can be transformed into biofuel. However, scientists still work to make the process commercially viable.