Powerful things come in small packages
Are they new?
Microalgae are ancestral microscopic organisms that first appeared on earth over one billion years ago.
Where can they be found?
They are present in fresh, sea and brackish water.
How do they develop?
In order to develop, microalgae mainly need water, nutrients and carbon dioxide, which they transform by means of a natural photosynthesis process. They can either be cultivated outdoors in raceways (large ponds) or indoors in photobioreactors (closed systems with transparent walls).
How many species are there?
According to estimates, there are over one million species of microalgae. Only 10 % are known to man, and only 40 or so species are used commercially.
What are they used for?
In addition to providing 50% of the oxygen that we breathe, there are many applications for microalgae: human and animal nutrition, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, biofuel, reduced carbon footprint in industry, and more besides.
Some strains, such as spirulina, chlorella and klamath, are known for their high nutritional value and other benefits for humans and animals. They have been used by humans as far back as the Aztecs in Mexico.