Algae Cultivation: Good for Human Health and the Environment Alike

(DGIwire) – Could cultivating algae not only improve human health but also help the environment as well? Yes, according to a recent article in the science magazine Cosmos. As the article notes, these fast-growing, single-celled plants can provide high-quality nutrition for a rapidly growing global human population. According to the magazine, the global market for algae-derived food ingredients could reach $400 billion within five years.

At the same time, Cosmos notes, algae can provide biomass for carbon-neutral fuels; it might even be possible to convert algae into bioplastics for building materials that permanently remove carbon dioxide from the air. Some thinkers quoted in the article envision large-scale algae farms with a positive cumulative impact on reducing global carbon emissions. Yet apart from any such applications, those who have been working on the front lines of algae development for human nutrition have long been aware of its versatility.

“The sheer number of potential applications of algae within the food industry is staggering,” says Andrew Dahl, President and CEO of ZIVO Bioscience, a biotech/agtech R&D company engaged in the commercialization of nutritional and medicinal products derived from proprietary algal strains. “From juices to salads to soup, there is virtually no limit to the variety of menu items that algae can supplement in a healthy manner.”

ZIVO’s algal strain can be spray-dried, belt-dried, drum-dried or freeze-dried depending on a product’s formulation requirement, ranging from a fine powder for better mixing properties to a flaked form that looks and blends like pesto, parsley flakes or dried seaweed. Once approved for use, the algal biomass can be grown by contracted cultivators and shipped to licensed drying facilities. From there, it would be shipped to formulators, for use as a protein-enhancing food ingredient, a dietary supplement or a vegan beverage ingredient.

An algae culture can be produced—and its nutritive components can be extracted—for use in foods and beverages that support human health. Studies have suggested there are substantial benefits from incorporating algae-based products into dietary supplements, foods and beverages. In pre-clinical research, ZIVO’s proprietary algal extracts have exhibited potentially beneficial properties in supporting a healthy cholesterol balance and immune response, along with other studies to assess additional benefits such as joint health or post-exertion recovery.

In addition to a digestible protein, ZIVO’s algal strain also offers a very significant fiber component, as well as natural, bioavailable vitamins A and C, non-starch polysaccharides and other micronutrients.

“When it comes to how algae can transform our kitchens and restaurants, the sky’s the limit, and work being done today will influence what people are eating 10 and 20 years from now,” adds Dahl.

 

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