So this is cool. Algae is one tough dogdamn plant. It isn’t big and showy, but it will grow just about anywhere and in pretty adverse conditions. Now, scientists (some in New Mexico, our home state) are making it a new source of food, and one which consumes CO2 and salt water at the same time.
In an article in Massive Science, Acres of saltwater pools in the desert are growing an algae food revolution, “High in protein and low in carbon footprint, algae is a breakthrough for feeding the world in a changing climate,” Bahar Gholipour looks at how the humble but lovable algae is being cultivated in places that are normally difficult to use for food production, like parts of New Mexico (did we mention that’s our home state?) that have lots of land but little water, and what water there may be is brackish and saline. Notes Gholipour, “Algae can be grown in areas where other crops won’t survive. They don’t need soil or freshwater. What they do need is a lot of CO2, which has led some to consider them for sequestering emissions from power plants. The algae’s excellent nutritional profile is another appeal. They have all essential amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, plus vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids like omega-3.”
So, in the badlands of New Mexico (our home state, remember?), companies like recent startup iWi are now attempting to cultivate algae on a massive scale. iWi seems to be thinking of algae as being itself a food source that people will learn to love, but even if they don’t, it could make an excellent animal feed, and then we could simple eat the animals.
That being the case, let’s hope that salt water algae really will turn into a cash crop on a grand scale…particularly in New Mexico.
Did we mention that we’re from New Mexico?
Just wanted to be sure.