The microalgae sector is rapidly gaining significance in the world of renewable resources. Microalgae are microscopic aquatic plants that can produce many products, such as lipids, proteins, polysaccharides, pigments, vitamins, and more. As a result, these microorganisms can revolutionize how we approach food production, energy, and environmental sustainability.
Unlike agriculture, seaweed farming involves cultivating wild organisms, not tame ones. This makes the process more challenging as it requires a deeper understanding of the organisms and their behavior. However, this is also why domesticating microalgae is crucial to fully exploit their potential, similar to what happened with crops over the past 13,000 years.
Despite the many benefits of microalgae, they have yet to be domesticated, unlike crops. This is due to the complexities involved in their cultivation and the limited understanding of their behavior. While some microalgae strains are more productive than others, killing the microalgae colony is still necessary to extract the oil. The goal, therefore, is to have domesticated strains that produce large quantities of oil and can secrete oil “on command.”
The world faces numerous immediate challenges, such as capturing CO2, producing food, and replacing fossil resources with renewables. Time is of the essence, and the microalgae sector has the potential to play a significant role in addressing these challenges. However, this will require advanced techniques such as genetic manipulation, genomics, and synthetic biology to be utilized effectively.
To further drive the development of the microalgae sector, AlgaeFarm, the most important Italian event dedicated to applications in algoculture and industrial microbiology, will be held on February 15, 2023, in Pordenone Fiere. The event will be hosted by NovelFarm, dedicated to new cultivation techniques. It will provide a platform for researchers, scientists, and industry professionals to come together and exchange ideas and best practices.
Image provided by Studio Comelli, Pordenone Fiere, Italy
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