Before jumping right in and explaining the benefits of algae, let’s take a step back and begin by defining the term so many of us have heard, but so few of us truly understand. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains algae as being, “members of a group of predominantly aquatic photosynthetic organisms of the kingdom Protista,” which “range in size from the tiny flagellate Micromonas that is 1 micrometre (0.00004 inch) in diameter to giant kelps that reach 60 meters (200 feet) in length.” In other words, algae live in water and make energy from sunlight, and are one of the most abundant and diverse organisms around. Essentially, algae have three components, chlorophyll and other plant pigments, omega-3 fatty acids and essential elements.
Whether you are in the energy industry or the agricultural industry, chances are you have heard the mention of algae from time to time, most likely because of the many different uses algae have in today’s world. Throughout this article, we will explain the major benefits of algae to give you a better understanding of all that this unique group of organisms has to offer.
A few key benefits of algae include its use as a:
• Soil Additive
• Health Supplement
• Bioremediation Agent
• Energy Source
The right type of soil additive can make a world of a difference when it comes to the development and vitality of a plant. If you didn’t already know, nitrogen is a primary nutrient that plants require in order to develop properly and move from one phenological stage to the next. Unlike plants, algae possess the ability to extract nitrogen from the air and deposit the nitrogen into the surrounding soil or water (this process is referred to as Nitrogen Fixation). In addition to improving plant growth, the application of algae has also been shown to suppress soil-borne plant pathogens and repel pests, which decrease the need for chemical fertilizers and hazardous pesticides.
Our Integrated Life Sciences Research Center® (ILSRC) carefully selects specific species of freshwater green and yellow-green microalgae, which are then grown and cultivated in our state-of-the-art research facilities headquartered in Buckeye, AZ USA. Our process is a patented, quality controlled, organic method, which allows us to produce a concentrated algal solution that is unique to the market. Our proprietary solution is full of polysaccharides, proteins, fatty acids and enzymes that combine with one another to benefit growers and help improve their overall crop production!
Yes, you read that correctly: health! Humans developed on diets consisting of marine life, which are rich in omega-3/omega-6 fatty acids, proteins, amino acids and other beneficial nutrients. The shift in dietary staples makes it difficult for the human body to attain these nutrients at the same ratios that were once normal. While not all types of algae are consumable, simple-celled algae (the same type used in our proprietary algal solution) is, and these organisms provide a long list of vitamins and anti-oxidants, not to mention, they are also rich in potassium, iron, magnesium and calcium and contain other marine minerals such as iodine.
In the United States and other parts of the world, it is common to find algae in dietary supplements that help boost the immune system, repair nerve tissue, normalize blood sugar and provide the body with additional protein and fiber. Research has shown that although many people know what algae is, few people may know it can also provide us with many of the necessary elements required for our body to function.
Bioremediation is the process of using organisms to remove or neutralize pollutants from a contaminated site. We all know that hazardous waste affects our resources and ultimately determines how sustainable our earth genuinely is. Environmentalists are in a constant battle to develop a successful program that maintains a reasonable goal for the disposal of toxic waste. As for now, many wastewater facilities are using algae as a means to control the amount of pollutant exposure.
Algae is commonly found in many wastewater treatment plants, which are designed to remove biological waste or chemical waste from water. Instead of increasing the amount of toxic chemicals to aid in the removal of sludge and poisonous organic molecules from our water resource, they use algae!
Algae is quick to grow and helps control pollution by consuming carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that may be pumped into a water tank or pond. In just three to five days, algae also eliminates ammonia, a high percentage (above 85%) of nitrate, and about 99% of phosphate from wastewater. These pathogens, if not removed from our water, can cause a dissatisfying taste and possibly affect your overall well-being.
For several years, researchers have been focusing on alternative fuel sources, algae being one of them. Certain species of microalgae have the ability to store energy gained through photosynthesis in the form of natural oils. Numerous scientific studies have found that under the right conditions, algae can make a large amount of oil that can then be converted into biofuels.
It has been estimated that algae can produce up to 60 times more oil per acre than land-based plants, and with that extracted oil, you have the raw materials to make fuel for a wide variety of applications. For this process, oil is extracted by breaking down the cell structure of the algae using solvents or sound waves, then processed at an integrated biorefinery for further use. While commercial production is still a ways off, algae holds great promise to become a reliable fuel source to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.
Algae provides the human body with not only the necessary nutrients we need to carry on through our day, but can help turn our planet into a more sustainable and healthy place to live. BioFlora® strives to remain an innovator in the agricultural industry and deliver dramatic results during the earliest stages of the plant development. Combining the strength of microalgae to soil and humic matter, we have pioneered our IsoGreen® product to deliver noticeable results to your plants. We also offer GOgreen®, which is a naturally active algal concentrate, produced to increase soil aggregation, promote sodium mitigation and improve the overall nutrient uptake by plants. Both products use selected species of freshwater green and yellow-green microalgae to help growers improve their crop production and the structure of their soil.