Microalgae have been widely researched by biopharmaceutical, bioenergy, and nutraceutical industries. It is primarily known for its renewable, sustainable, biological, and pharmacological properties.
Recent studies have been revealing the advantages of microalgae in the aquaculture industry, as well. Including water quality control, wastewater remediation, and biomass production, discussed here are everything you should know about how microalgae will dominate aquatic farming.
In this article:
- Microalgae-Assisted Aquaculture
- Technical and Economic Advantages
- Important Issues to Consider
Microalgae is one of the natural sources that can produce biofuel as much as 5,000 gallons taken from a single acre of its plantation within a year, which shows excellent fiscal sense. In fact, algae are considered as the ideal alternative fossil fuels, considering its cost-efficiency, renewability, and positive environmental impact. It can be comparable to the benefits of geothermal and hydroelectric energy sources.
In addition to its advantage to the environment, microalgae are also considered as a ‘Productive CO2 Emissions Cleaner.’ It absorbs high rates of carbon dioxide to grow and at the same time, release oxygen as they grow—hitting two birds with one stone.
Microalgae enrich the standard animal feed because it is rich in micronutrients and high protein content. It’s the very reason why algae are also utilized in many multivitamins for human beings. Also, it can be a primary ingredient in making vegetable oil, which can produce more vegetable oil than those of olives, safflowers, and peanuts.
There are still more advantages that microalgae can offer. Microalgae is capable of converting atmospheric carbon dioxide to functional compounds or substances, including bioactive metabolites, lipids, and carbohydrates. Hence, pharmacological, biological, and nutraceutical and other industries are paying attention to it.
The concept of microalgae-assisted aquaculture primarily revolves in the conversion of aquaculture organics to biomass. These organics in eutrophic effluents are converted through microalgae growth. Another way is through exploit value-added biomass, which can develop the immunity of aquatic animals, as well as replacing their feeding.
Further, this microalgae system can also serve as a bio-pump that can promote oxygen release and accelerate carbon dioxide fixation, creating a livable environment for aquatic animals. Here’s a roundup of microalgae-assisted aquaculture system:
- Microalgae, which is inoculated into a pond pump installation or fish rearing tank, digest secreted wastes of marine animals, improving the self-purification of aquaculture system;
- Microalgae cultivation system is built to absorb nutrients in aquaculture effluent;
- In acquiring microalgae biomass in a cost-efficient and eco-friendly way, harvesting technology is utilized; and
- In reducing the fish rearing cost, the newly harvested biomass will be employed as value-added aquaculture feed.
Technical and Economic Advantages
We’ve been continuously alluding the utilization to be cost-efficient in a real-world application here. Specifically, the following expounds on how the integration of microalgae with fish rearing will result in the following technical and economic advantages.
Oxygen production = oxygen depletion prevention and low-energy consumption
Since microalgae itself can promote oxygen production, it can prevent the risks of oxygen depletion in a tank or pond. In connection to this, it can consequently conserve energy from conventional aeration devices.
Toxic microorganisms prevention = cost reduction for water replacement frequency
The existence of microalgae can provide aquatic animals a suitable living environment as it would limit or avert the growth of unfavorable microorganisms in the fish rearing tank or pond. The fish tank’s water replacement frequency, along with its related cost, would, in turn, significantly decreased in the end.
Microalgae feeding = widespread market acceptance and controlled fish rearing costs
Microalgae nutrition improves the immunity of aquatic animals. As a result, the overutilization of antibiotics in aquaculture will be prevented, which in turn enhances the safety of aquaculture products.
Aquaculture products would gradually have more considerable market demands, even though they are much more expensive than their traditional counterparts. What’s more, harvested biomass would be used instead of conventional aquaculture feeds. Therefore, it’s expected that the cost of fish rearing could be controlled, as well.
Aquaculture effluent is high-quality, yet inexpensive
The aquaculture effluent can be treated at a low cost, although it is treated with an advanced microalgae biotechnology. Hence, the financial burden of wastewater treatment paid by the aquaculture industry to sewage handling companies could be avoided.
Important Issues to Consider
There are crucial issues that should be considered to effectively utilize microalgae as a real-world application in aquaculture wastewater remediation. Listed below are four concerns that researchers have been giving attention to for years.
Cost-saving cultivation systems.
It’s needed to efficiently produce biomass that is needed for microalgae’s growth and aquaculture wastewater treatment.
Production and remediation should both employ microalgal strains.
With value-added components, microalgal strains should be used for both aquaculture feed production and wastewater remediation.
Highly-developed harvesting technology.
An advanced harvesting system is necessary to reduce the harvesting mass as well as the biomass production cost.
Recent studies have found out that what has been mentioned can cause more favorable results to environmental aquaculture and protection. Further, microalgae effects on the aquatic environment and the other relevant mechanisms should be understood well. Hence, in-depth awareness and continuous research are deemed necessary.
If you’re going to consider all the advantages mentioned above, there is no doubt that the utilization of microalgae can be of great benefit in the entire aquaculture industry, as well as to our environment.