Algae biotechnologies an emerging new space for industry
Algae are not just the slimy green coating found in ponds, lakes and the sea – algae are also multipurpose organisms used in industry to secure a more sustainable future. Deep Green Biotech Hub (DGBH) offers programs to support entrepreneurs to launch new microalgae focused businesses, accomplished companies to adopt algae biotechnologies and enables students to learn about how these biotechnologies can transform industries.
Established in late 2016, DBGH is a relatively new initiative of UTS’s Climate Change Cluster Institute, but it aims to make a huge impact in the area of sustainable futures.
Products made from algae can be the solution to resource exhaustion. For example, algae that grow in bodies of water such as lakes and dams, and cause algal blooms, can be harvested and processed to make shoes. Algae found in UAE desert can be used to produce palm oil – this negates the need to destroy tropical rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia and subsequently protects the habitats of endangered orangutans.
Some companies are working with DGBH to use microalgae to substitute ingredients in nutraceuticals, including vitamins, dietary supplements/fibre and prebiotics. For example, algae such as Chlorella, Dunaliella, Haematococcus and Spirulina are desirable because they can produce vitamins, and Omega 3 can be sourced from algae instead of fish; several strains of algae are known to express abundant Omega 3 fatty acids.
The Hub is also supervising undergraduate students from Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation at UTS to work with industry to develop algae substitutes for ingredients in children’s food. In addition to being rich in vitamins and minerals, some algae have impressive protein content and can be incorporated into everything from soup, quiche, pie and pancakes to crackers, cereals, breads, sauces and salad dressings. (National Geographic)
The Deep Green Biotech Manager, believes algae biotechnologies are important for businesses that want to break into an emerging new space and job market, “it’s something new for people to look at in the business world,” said Dr Naydenova.
“UTS is always trying to do something new to encourage more activity in the entrepreneurial space. This is particularly what the hub is doing, trying to inspire researchers and students to think of algae not only in general terms, but also why not to start a business with algae,” said Dr Naydenova.