Wednesday, October 20, 2010


(Above: Volvox carteri, a species from one of my favorite algal genera when I took Phycology -"algae class" - at BYU. Photo from wikipedia.)
Here is an inspiring article about growing algae for food. I recommend reading it. It got me real jazzed about setting up a series of water bottles in my window to grow edible algae.

Here are a few quotes to get you excited about reading the article.
"Aaron Baum is a 40-year-old Harvard graduate and Stanford Physics PhD. After a mid-life crisis of sorts, he spent months researching the types of science that would most benefit the world and concluded that algae are it."
After working as a program manager, Aaron said "I realized I was working my butt off to make computer chips run faster. I kind of lost faith in what I was doing."
"Algae is a way to grow really high quality food in a small area, on the surface of a body of water, or in wastewater."
"Algae as a food is extremely healthy. It's high in complete protein, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and it's effective against infections....There were dozens of experiments where they fed rats a regular diet and another group with spirulina. They exposed the rats to mercury, lead, pesticides, radiation, and mutagens and found that spirulina-eating rats did much better."
How to eat fresh live spirulina...? "You can spread it on crackers. Or mix it with brown rice and guacamole for a vegan meal. The easiest way is mixed in carrot juice."
"The nice thing about algae is that while they clean water and air, they also produce very valuable things like fuel, fertilizer, food, and precursers to bioplastics, cosmetics, and medicine."

Yahoo! sign me up, sounds fun! I also like the way windows look with green tanks of algae.

Aaron Baum's website: FarmerOnMars

Yes, yes, I know, Volvox is not edible, but it's amazing looking. Here are some more cool photos illustrating the diversity and beauty of algae:
(several species from the Chlorococcales group via wikipedia)
(above: Oedogonium sp. from wikipedia)
And last, here is Spirulina, the commonly eaten algae:

1 comment:

Ani said...

I love your post on algae. You led me to some pretty good site I'm thinking about incorporating into the curriculum I'm writing for an exhibit on algae. Such fun stuff!!