Algae and the often-confused cyanobacteria are diverse groups of microorganisms capable of photosynthesis and living in a huge variety of conditions. Being photosynthetic gives them the useful ability to use the energy in sunlight to take up simple nutrients and minerals from their environment along with carbon dioxide, combining them into more complex matter allowing them to grow and reproduce. This ability also makes them of vital importance to a range of environmental and global systems, from supporting the growth of coral reefs to helping to control the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The Inherent Value of Algae
A major benefit of commercially growing algae is the possibility of making use of the biomass produced. Algal biomass is full of stored energy and useful compounds allowing the biomass to be processed and used for a range of purposes. These include niche markets e.g. specialist lubricants as well as large scale bulk uses such as fertiliser.
The Right Biology
Algae are microscopic plants able to take up nutrients and minerals from a variety of sources. By using the power of the sun, algae are able to build nutrients into ever more complex compounds allowing them to grow and divide.
Algae are a highly diverse range or organisms and have adapt to a variety of conditions. This makes algae an ideal biological component of the wastewater treatment process. As an added benefit, the biomass produced can be used for a variety of beneficial purposes.
High Quality creative commons images care of Frank Fox www.mikro-foto.de @ Wikimedia Commons and Marc Perkins - OCC Biology Department @ Flickr
THE POTENTIAL OF ALGAE
Elegant pictures by eutrophication&hypoxia,John Lemieux & dsearls. Taken from flickr, under creative common.