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Using algae to improve the sustainability credentials of food production

Wageningen UR scientists in Mexico are investigating the use of algae to improve the sustainability credentials of food production - specifically by using the algae to extract nutrients from the residual water from vegetable greenhouses.

Project leader Dorinde Kleinegris, Wageningen UR, says:

“In Mexico many capsicums and tomatoes are grown in vegetable greenhouses. A large percentage of these products are intended for the American market, which is constantly increasing the sustainability requirements for production. Take the example of the groundwater used for cultivation. There is a water shortage in Mexico and water can only be reused a few times before it becomes too saline. We want to use this saline water for algae, some varieties of which take well to salt. An added benefit is that they can extract nutrients from artificial fertiliser more efficiently than capsicum and tomato plants. In fact, we expect algae to remove the last remaining nutrients.”

The algae are also naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids and high in protein, so the scientists are also testing their suitability as a raw material in chicken feed.

Find out more here.

 

Story source: Wageningen UR news, 24 Mar 2016

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