Algae play an important role in agriculture where they are used as biofertilizer and soil stabilizers. Algae, particularly the seaweeds, are used as fertilizers, resulting in less nitrogen and phosphorous runoff than the one from the use of livestock manure. This in turn, increases the quality of water flowing into rivers and oceans.
What are the environmental factors affecting algae farming?
Farms of these commodities are all affected by the same environmental factors as those of program crops, such as lower-than-expected production due to droughts, natural disasters, soil quality, water availability, etc. The farming of algae is equally susceptible to different but similar factors that affect biomass and crop yields.
What is the role of algae in agriculture?
Role of algae in agriculture. They include the multicellular marine algae that commonly inhabit the coastal regions of the world’s oceans, where suitable substrata exist. These marine seaweed species are often regarded as an underutilized bioresource, and many of them have been widely used as a source of food, industrial raw materials,…
What is algae and how does it affect the environment?
Algae, particularly the seaweeds, are used as fertilizers, resulting in less nitrogen and phosphorous runoff than the one from the use of livestock manure. This in turn, increases the quality of water flowing into rivers and oceans.
Can algae farming be sustainable?
Furthermore, since these reports, many of these improvements have been made and technologies have been developed that successfully demonstrate the ability to sustainably cultivate and harvest algae on large scales.
How does agriculture cause algae blooms?
According to the EPA, “animal manure, excess fertilizer applied to crops and fields and soil erosion make agriculture one of the largest sources of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the country.” It is this nutrient pollution and over-enrichment that is primarily fueling the harmful algal blooms.
How does agricultural use algae?
Algae play an important role in agriculture where they are used as biofertilizer and soil stabilizers. Algae, particularly the seaweeds, are used as fertilizers, resulting in less nitrogen and phosphorous runoff than the one from the use of livestock manure.
How does fertilizer affect algae growth?
Fertilisers can leach into fresh water, adding extra, unwanted nitrates. This will increase algal populations which can cause algal blooms. Algal blooms reduce light levels, killing aquatic plants. These dead plants, as well as dead algae, become food for bacteria which increase greatly in number.
How do fertilizers affect algal blooms?
Too much fertilizer can actually kill the plant and excess fertilizer can runoff into streams and lakes causing toxic algal blooms that are harmful to aquatic life and even people and their pets. Excess fertilizer runoff from lawns and agricultural applications also contribute to aquatic “dead zones” in coastal areas.
Which green algae is used in agriculture?
Thus, algae are significant sources of various kinds of nutrients and can potentially be used in agriculture. In particular, the aquatic eukaryotic fern Azolla is a producer of nitrogen. This alga hosts in its leaves the prokaryotic blue green algae Anabaena azolla in a symbiotic association.
How an algae is grown?
The basic reaction for algae growth in water is carbon dioxide + light energy + water = glucose + oxygen + water. This is called autotrophic growth. It is also possible to grow certain types of algae without light, these types of algae consume sugars (such as glucose). This is known as heterotrophic growth.
Why does fertilizer help algae grow?
Fertilizing a pond with organic or inorganic fertilizer is often done to initiate an algal bloom, which is another term for an increased population of algae. The natural and artificial fertilizers provide principal chemical nutrients necessary for algal growth and reproduction.
How do nutrients help algae?
Fertilizer (phosphorus and nitrogen) fuels the out-of-control growth of algae and aquatic plants. Without nutrients, these pests are unable to grow and flourish. Phosphorus is the limiting nutrient in aquatic environments and is the fundamental base of the entire ecosystem.
What nutrients affect algae growth?
Light is the most limiting factor for algal growth, followed by nitrogen and phosphorus limitations. Algal productivity is often correlated to levels of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) (See N:P. ratio, above), but other nutrients are required including carbon, silica, and other micronutrients.
How do fertilizers contribute to water pollution?
The usage of organic fertilizers results in the discharge of nitrate, potassium and phosphates that pollute the water. The contamination of groundwater occurs as a result of leaching due to nitrate. The ground and surface waters are infested with heavy metals, whose concentration poses a threat to humans and animals.
How does farming cause eutrophication?
This excess nitrogen and phosphorus can be washed from farm fields and into waterways during rain events and when snow melts, and can also leach through the soil and into groundwater over time. High levels of nitrogen and phosphorus can cause eutrophication of water bodies.
How do fertilizers affect the environment?
Excessive use of fertilizers leads to eutrophication. Fertilizers contain substances including nitrates and phosphorus that are flooded into lakes and oceans through rains and sewage. These substances boost the excessive growth of algae in the water bodies, thereby decreasing the level of oxygen for aquatic life.
What are two ways algae is used in agriculture?
Algae has the potential to become an important, sustainable source of biomass for making biofuels, food, livestock feed and other products. Some ty…
What are the roles of algae in the soil?
Being photosynthetic, algae play an important part in introducing organic matter into the soil and excrete polysaccharides which increase soil aggr…
Which green algae is used in agriculture?
Cyanobacteria are emerging candidates for competently conversion of radiant energy into chemical energy. Cyanobacteria are used in ecofriendly sust…
What is the role of blue green algae in agriculture?
They are important in agriculture as they can metabolize molecular nitrogen, solubilise insoluble phosphates, improve physical and chemical nature…
Why is algae so important?
They play a vital role in aquatic ecosystems by forming the energy base of the food web for all aquatic organisms. As autotrophic organisms, algae…
What will happen if we don’t rein in agricultural runoff and toxic algae blooms?
If we don’t rein in agricultural runoff and toxic algae blooms, then communities across the US will continue to experience the negative impacts to the environment, human health and the economy. Some of the economic impacts relate to our fisheries and drinking water supplies. In an article earlier this year, Tom Philpott wrote that the annual damages caused by toxic algae blooms nationwide, “everything from increased [drinking water] filtration costs to declines in fish populations,” amounts to about $2 billion in costs to the US economy.
What are the links between toxic algae and our broken food system?
The Link Between Toxic Algae and Our Broken Food System. First and foremost, these blooms are yet another reminder that we need to make significant and lasting changes to the way we farm and produce our food, especially in reducing nutrient pollution. According to the EPA, “animal manure, excess fertilizer applied to crops and fields …
What are the harmful algal blooms?
If you follow environmental or climate news, then you have probably noticed the rise in reporting about harmful algal blooms (aka toxic algae). Over the past few decades, scientists have not only observed an upsurge in the frequency of these blooms around the planet but also an increase in their severity and geographic distribution. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these blooms – known as everything from red tides to blue-green algae or cyanobacteria – have been cropping up across the country; in fact, in all 50 states . Some areas like upstate New York are expected to have a “big bloom year” and a rough summer. And federal scientists are forecasting that this summer’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to be the third largest since monitoring began a little over 30 years ago.
What is the gas produced by cows?
Cows and other ruminant animals produce methane, a powerful GHG gas, during a digestive process known as enteric fermentation. Another source of methane from ruminant animals is the massive amounts of decomposing manure being stored in the lagoons often used by factory farming operations.
How does regenerative agriculture help the climate?
Regeneration International describes regenerative agriculture as “farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.”.
Do farms help with nutrient pollution?
While some farms are a big part of the nutrient pollution problem, all farms can be a big part of the solution. A large majority of farmers are willing (and, in some cases, doing) the right thing and we need to provide the necessary support to help them keep nutrients in the field and out of our waterways.
Can nutrients get into waterways?
But that’s not the only way nutrients can get into the waterways. When storms bring heavy rains, like we saw with 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, rivers overflow their banks, flooding the lagoons and washing large amounts of animal waste downstream.
How do algae help with photosynthesis?
Algae are a large and diverse group of microorganisms that can carry out photosynthesis since they capture energy from sunlight. Algae play an important role in agriculture where they are used as biofertilizer and soil stabilizers. Algae, particularly the seaweeds, are used as fertilizers, resulting in less nitrogen and phosphorous runoff than the one from the use of livestock manure. This in turn, increases the quality of water flowing into rivers and oceans. These organisms are cultivated around the world and used as human food supplements. They can produce a clean and carbon-neutral food also and can be grown on abandoned lands and arid desert lands with minimal demands for fresh water. Seaweeds are an important source of iodine. Iodine levels in milk depend on what the cow producing the milk has been fed with. Feeding milk cattle with seaweeds can increase the quantity of iodine in milk, according to Fuzhou Wonderful Biological Technology. Egg-laying rate in hen is also increased by algae feed additives. In this article, we discussed the most important aspects of algae and its agricultural uses to those who work in this area.
How does sustainable agriculture help the environment?
Sustainable agriculture aims at enhancing agricultural production by adopting environmental friendly technology. Algaeare diverse group of unique organism possessing myriad of potentials. They are photosynthetic microbesinhabiting plethora of habitats.Algae are pioneers of the biological transformation of solar energy and nutrientsfrom the waste to the biomass of algae, which can undergo anaerobic fermentation giving methane (approximately 60%) and of Carbon dioxide (about 40%), which in turn can be returned to cultivation of algae asa source of carbon. They have been exploited in agriculture since decades as biofertilizers, soil stablisers and plant growth promoters.Algae production could be more ecofriendly and efficient by closing production cycles, whereagricultural wastes and animal wastes are used as a medium for the growth of algae. The biomass generated byvirtue of remediation of waste water or utilization of nutrients not consumed by animals can be exploited forbiofuels and nutraceuticals. The use of molecular techniques can also enhanced our capacity to understand andmanage the algae-crop interaction and this will lead to new products with improved effectiveness and efficiency.Genetic enhancement of algal strains with improved effectiveness may involve addition of one or more traitsassociated with plant growth promotion. Algal biofertilizers can provide a suitable support to agriculture byreducing use of chemical fertilizers, and ‘organic farming’ can become a reality in the future by exploring theunique potential of algae.
What are the bioactive properties of algae?
A number of active metabolites derived from algae, many of which demonstrate bioactive properties, have found profound, multifunctional applications in biofuels, nutraceuticals and functional foods, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics industries. In spite of the evolving global interests and market demand of algal biomass and metabolites, studies and applications pertaining to sustainable agriculture challenges, such as soil nutrient deficiency, drought stress, soil toxicity, leaf discoloration and plant growth stunts, are limited. The generation and functional determination of novel bioactive compounds from algal biomass may offer innovative opportunities to address some of the aforementioned challenges. This chapter profiles and discusses the prospects of key algal metabolites in addressing plant growth challenges. Additionally, research findings from specific studies based on the use of algal metabolites and phytohormones as biostimulants, their influence in host animal physiology, and protective mechanisms against adventitious organisms or foreign pathogens, have been discussed. The chapter lays down progressive perspectives for optimal exploitation of algal metabolites and phytohormones in enhancing agricultural outputs.
What is alginate used for?
Alginate is the most used marine polysaccharide, and it is explored for old and new functions as food additive or a biomedical essential polymer in wound dressings, respectively. The great advantages of alginate against other biopolymers are: the low cost extraction, the easiness to use and the great capacity to be modified. Alginate is a valuable resource for various industries estimated in value at USD 624.0 million in 2016. We portray the history behind the alginate discovery and give general chemical overview of this type of compound. In addition, we provide a general overview of alginate applications in the industry today and perspective futures about new applications.
What are seaweeds used for?
These marine seaweed species are often regarded as an underutilized bioresource, and many of them have been widely used as a source of food, industrial raw materials, and in therapeutic, cosmetic and botanical applications for centuries. Seaweeds likewise have been used for millennia as fodder supplements to improve animal nutrition and productivity. Moreover, some seaweeds have the capacity to purify water by removing heavy metals and can be used in the bioremediation of such pollutants. In agriculture, there is a growing concern that environmental pollution caused by nutrient imbalance and overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides is directly or indirectly related to human health problems. Consequently, worldwide, there is a tendency towards a shift from chemical-based conventional farming towards to low input sustainable, organic, or alternative agriculture. With increasing demand, availability of organic fertilizers from limited sources was not adequate. To meet the increasing demand many viable options should be explored and one such option is the use of seaweed extracts as fertilizers. More specifically, plants grown in soils treated with seaweed manures, or extracts applied either to the soil or to foliage, exhibit a wide range of responses that have been well documented in a number of reports. Positive responses include improved seed germination, root development, leaf quality, plant vigor and resistance to pathogens. Also, benefits in flower set, fruit production and marketable qualities of fruit are recorded for a large number of both herbaceous and woody crop species. Many reports indicate that seaweeds have a high content of macro- and microelements that are necessary for the development and growth of plants, amino acids, antibiotics, and vitamins. It is now well recognized that many of the common plant hormones (abscisic acid, auxins, cytokinins, gibberellic acid) occur in algae. Moreover, seaweed synthesize polymers such as agars, alginates, phlorotannins and others that show a variety of biological activities in both plants and animals and involved in host defense mechanisms. This short summary indicates the significance of algae as sources of various chemicals in agriculture and their potential use in the near future.
Focus on the Farming
Dr. Gross and his business partner and former professor, Dr. Zihyou Wen, did not set out to build a new water cleaning system.
How the Algae Farming System Works
Here is how Dr. Martin Gross describes his patented algae farming system:
Why can farmers raise algae?
Farmers can raise algae on land that is unsuited for row crops, he adds, because algae don’t need good soil. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has supported algae systems to produce alternative transportation fuels, Carr says.
How does algae production help farmers?
Carr says algae-production systems can be a fairly low-cost way for farmers to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff, keeping the nutrients on the farm, which eliminates the need to purchase more fertilizer.
What are the benefits of the Algae Agriculture Act?
Provisions of the Algae Agriculture Act could dramatically accelerate algae farming in the U.S., Carr says, bringing economic benefits to rural areas and sustainable solutions to the world. Those include an algae research initiative, an algae crop insurance program, and the elimination of the exclusion of algae from the Biomass Crop Assistance …
How does algae help the environment?
In addition to producing food, feed, and fertilizer, algae production adds benefits by recycling carbon from the atmosphere, removing contaminants from wastewater, and bringing unproductive acres into production, according to Matt Carr, executive director of the Algae Biomass Organization (algaebiomass.org).
What are the advantages of algae?
An advantage of algae production on the farm, he observes, is that per-acre algae yields are much higher than row crops, and the return on a per-acre basis is considerably higher. “Algae can expand the nation’s agricultural base and bring more revenue in for farmers, especially in marginal areas,” Carr says.
Who invented the algae bioreactor?
Wen and cofounder Martin Gross, who was Wen’s graduate student at Iowa State University, developed their algae-production system at Iowa State’s BioCentury Research Farm, where Gross and Wen coinvented the revolving bioreactor that allows algae to attach to a surface.
Can algae be used in aquaculture?
Using algae for aquaculture feed is a big driver in that category, Carr says. “The most challenging ingredient in fish feed is the fish oil that boosts the omega-3 content in the feed. Algae are rich in omega-3s as a sustainable source that can supplement fish oil,” he notes.
Why are algae used in lakes?
Pollution control – algae are often used synergistically by bacteria found in lakes to consume nutrients , thus facilitating the purification of waste water. With the exception of pollution control, these uses of algae are highly valued.
What is the main source of carbon in algae?
some algae species are capable of generating many volumes of lipids that can be used to produce fuel, food ingredients or special chemicals; the main carbon source of algae is carbon dioxide, so they could be part of a carbon recycling strategy; algae have an impact on wastewater purification and can be involved in a complete water purification …
What is the most common algae used in printing?
Carrageenan algae – extracted from red algae and used around the world in the printing industry with around 50,000 tons; Spirulina – 1,000 tons of these algae are consumed annually only in the US as a dietary supplement, facilitating weight loss;
What are the different types of algae?
The term “algae” is used in particular to broadly describe the different types of aquatic organisms (more than 35,000 species are already classified), which have the following attributions: 1 algae species grow rapidly in different climatic conditions; 2 they have the ability to produce much biomass per area than any other source of biomass; 3 some algae species are capable of generating many volumes of lipids that can be used to produce fuel, food ingredients or special chemicals; 4 the main carbon source of algae is carbon dioxide, so they could be part of a carbon recycling strategy; 5 algae have an impact on wastewater purification and can be involved in a complete water purification strategy.
How does microalgae help in energy storage?
The advantages of microalgae to technical methods consist in the possibility of storing energy through long-term storage of the fuel and its use in the necessary amount at the necessary time. In addition, if algae farms are placed near factories or power plants, there may even be a possibility to reduce industrial emissions.
Why are microalgae good for energy?
Unlike other energy crops, microalgae are suitable to obtain high quality fuels and biogas. Another advantage to this is the ratio to the soil: as technical methods, algae cultivation doesn’t present any requirements to it and doesn’t affect its fertility. The advantages of microalgae to technical methods consist in the possibility …
What is the most common algae grown at small scale?
The most common type of algae grown at small scale is Spirulina, known for its various health benefits. Algae farms are providing algae for various purposes and industries. For example, most aquaculture farms also produce their own algae which are used to feed the fish.