Part of EuroTier: 12 - 15 November 2024, Hanover
Pioneering new ways of farm & food
Controlled Environment Agriculture – global food security through new agricultural production systems is one of the central tasks of the future. "Inhouse Farming - Feed & Food Show" is the DLG's new platform for the agricultural and food systems of the future. Closely networked with agricultural practice, it offers technical information, perspectives, innovations and business - from feed to food.
"All-rounders in the water?". Algae can be divided into macroalgae (seaweed) and microalgae and fascinate with their enormous diversity and richness of species. For inhouse farming systems, the focus is on microalgae. Out of 100,000 characterised microalgae species, only a few thousand are cultivated in strain collections and only about 20 species are actually used in biotechnological applications. They grow rapidly, are present in all climatic zones and are enormously adaptable.
Microalgae production in controlled, closed systems called photobioreactors enables the technological production of pure strains for use in food, additives, feed, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and biomass. Numerous technological processes are used for the production of algae: Microalgae grow in foil tubes, vertical or horizontal tube reactors or in a plate system.
In these inhouse cultivation systems, the so-called inoculum (seed) is placed in the water and the algae grow in a controlled manner with the addition of nutrient salts, C02 and a light source. In contrast to open systems, such as in ponds (Open Pond Systems) and flow channels (Raceway Systems), contamination and pollutant accumulation can be avoided. Effectiveness, hygiene, control and quality are the key issues.
The harvesting of microalgae is also completely different from other crops, as a gentle separation of algae biomass and process water is required. This is followed by stabilisation, filtration, drying and cooling until the finished algae product is ready for sale.
The most commonly cultivated algae in closed systems are Chlorella vulgaris (green algae), Spirulina platensis (cyanobacteria, "blue-green algae"), Dunaliella salina and Haematococcus pluvialis (green algae). Depending on the species, they are used as vitamin, antioxidant, amino acid and fatty acid suppliers or produce natural dyes and pigments such as astaxanthin (red) or phycocyanin (blue). Microalgae (e.g. Tetraselmis ssp) play a major role in the feeding of particularly small-mouthed fish larvae in aquaculture, such as cod and bream.
This brief summary of the algae sector alone makes it clear how diverse the types, application, production processes and conditions are, although we have not even gone into the approvals, markets and products, etc. yet. Microalgae are a particularly sought-after and innovative sector at Agritechnica's Inhouse Farming.
Let's see if algae really are all-rounders!?
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