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Nutrients in microalgae: An environmentally friendly alternative to fish

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Microalgae could provide an alternative source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids for humans while also being more environmentally friendly to produce than popular fish species. This is the result of a new study by scientists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU). The study was recently published in the Journal of Applied Phycology and offers an initial indication of the environmental effects of producing microalgae in Germany.

Microalgae have been the focus of several decades of research—initially as a raw material for alternative fuels, but more recently, as a source of nutrients in the human diet. They are mainly produced in open ponds in Asia; however, these ponds are at risk of potential contamination. Also, some species of algae are easier to cultivate in closed systems, so-called photobioreactors. “We wanted to figure out whether microalgae produced in photobioreactors in Germany could provide a more environmentally friendly source of essential nutrients than fish ,” says Susann Schade from the Institute of Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences at MLU. Up to now, photobioreactors had usually only been compared to pond cultivation and they often scored worse due to their higher environmental impacts. “However, little research has been done on the […]

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