BIOTECHNOLOGY// micro-algae from wastewater and biofertilizer production

Author: @madridbg, through Power Point 2010, using public domain images.

Greetings dear readers of this prestigious platform, the biotechnological issue has become a topic of growing interest for society, this due to the need to produce friendly substances with our planetary system, so that we can combat the damage that man's actions have generated with the passing of time on the planet.

In this sense, today we will address the use of some plant species or micro-algae of the genus Scenedesmus obliquus that are produced in wastewater, as raw material for the production of fertilizer, which will allow us to leave aside much of the chemicals that include these compounds of industrial origin.

Fig. 2. Wastewater as a source of microalgae. Author: Wikyhelper

Nutritionally, micro-algae are considered as potential functional foods, which exhibit the capacity to increase the nutritional values of foods when used as additives, generating positive effects on animal and human health. Among their contributions are the presence of vitamins, essential amino acids, carbohydrates and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, in addition to their outstanding contribution in antioxidants. In the case of Scenedesmus obliquus in addition to the aforementioned contributions, it provides an average of 45% of the proteins we need for our functioning.

Fig. 3. Structural representation of fatty acids. Author: Attabey

Therefore, a group of researchers from the University of Almeria have managed to generate a fertilizer with excellent nutritional contributions to plants and which is created based on plant extracts of the micro-algae Scenedesmus obliquus that has been developed in wastewater. Experimentally, the biomass of the plant species in 0.1g/liter water concentrations has been able to develop plant species by up to 40% compared to those crops where no fertilizer is used.

Another positive aspect of the biotechnological development is that it allows the levels of gibberellin and auxin, hormones responsible for the growth of the root and stem of the plant respectively, to be boosted. The main objective of the study is to reduce the levels of chemical fertilizers and adopt new products that do not harm the environment and which allow equal or better levels of profitability in crops.

Some of the advances of the development have been published in the Molecules magazine, where we can analyze part of the procedure followed in obtaining the bio-product, among which stand out the cultivation of the biomass, which is subjected to a centrifugation process that allows eliminating the presence of residual water, from there to obtain a paste which is treated with different biological procedures that allow evaluating its behavior and the contributions to the plants.

Fig. 4. Micro-algae cultivationAuthor: CSIRO

According to Elvira Navarro, an active researcher of the process:
"The usefulness of the paste obtained is a function of the micro-cellular contributions, which is why it must be broken since it is internally where most of the aforementioned nutrients are concentrated."

From my perspective it is a breakthrough in agricultural and biotechnological material since by replicating and standardizing a suitable method that allows to generate bio-fertilizers on a large scale, we would be taking giant steps in sustainable development material. In this sense, if you found this research interesting and timely, I invite you to leave your contribution in the comments section.


[1] Catalina QUEVEDO O, Sonia P. MORALES V, Alejandro ACOSTA C “Scenedesmus sp GROWTH IN DIFFERENT CULTURE médiums FOR MICROALGAL PROTEIN PRODUCTION. Article: Online Access

[2] Navarro-López E, Ruiz-Nieto A, Ferreira A, Acién FG , Gouveia L “Biostimulant Potential of Scenedesmus obliquus Grown in Brewery Wastewater”. Molecules. Article: Online Access


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