Currently, the demand for sustainability in the food industry drove German researchers to explore if microalgae could be an alternative source of essential nutrients in people’s diets.
New findings show microalgae could provide an additional source of omega-3 fatty acids for people while also being more environmentally friendly to produce than commonly eaten kinds of fish. “Microalgae should not and cannot completely replace fish as a food source. But if microalgae could be established as a portion of common food, it would be another excellent environmentally friendly source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids,” explain authors.
Omega-3 is essential for sustaining brain health, and the main source comes from fish the impact of fish production on the environment is substantial. Germany researches investigated if growing microalgae in closed systems, called photobioreactors, could fill the rift in demand for omega-3 fatty acids.
Researchers compared the carbon footprint of nutrients from microalgae and fish. Until recently, microalgae have been mainly produced in open ponds in Asia, so researchers also investigated if it could be successfully grown in areas with similar climatic conditions as Germany has.
Microalgae are unicellular, photosynthetic organisms, growing in all kinds of aquatic habitats, from oceans to small ponds. They have been a focus of research for several decades now; Firstly, as a possible material for alternative fuels. More recently, as a food supplement in our diets. Some people even believe they can become a new superfood.