Scientists say they’ve found a way to turn algae into “super algae” by increasing their health and medicinal value, according to a report by SWNS.
The researchers hope the ‘boosted’ algae can be used in ‘the superfood, drug and cosmetics industries of the future’, the UK Press Service said.
Scientists from Tel Aviv University and the Israel Institute for Oceanographic and Limnological Research have succeeded in doubling the antioxidants in seaweed, tripling the amount of natural sunscreen and increasing the unique protective pigments of great medical value.
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The cutting-edge technology even promotes an environmentally friendly approach of “sustainable integrated aquaculture” in which algae purify water and maintain ecological balance, SWNS said.
Published in Marine Drugs, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the study claims to have made groundbreaking discoveries in the field of marine health and medicinal compounds.
Author and PhD student Doron Ashkenazi told SWNS: “Algae, also known as macroalgae, are marine plants that form the basis of the coastal marine ecosystem. Algae absorb[s] carbon dioxide and release[s] oxygen in the environment.”
He said that seaweed plants “purify the water [and] provide food, habitat and shelter for many species of fish and invertebrates.”
Researchers are eyeing anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibiotic substances.
Ashkenazi added, “Not many people are aware… [that] algae produce a wide variety of distinct bioactive compounds that are beneficial to humans… In order to survive, algae have evolved a unique set of chemical defense mechanisms, natural chemicals that help them cope with these harsh environments.
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He also said: “You could say that seaweed is [a] highly efficient natural plant for the production of valuable substances that can provide significant benefits to humans.”
The team cultured three local types of algae – Ulva, Gracilaria and Hypnea – alongside fish effluent, and were then exposed to various stressful conditions, namely high irradiance, nutrient starvation and high salinity. , said SWNS.
They examined how the changes affected the concentration of specific valuable biomaterials in the algae, with the aim of improving their production.
The team found a way to “reproduce the results minus the stressors”.
The results showed an increase in their concentrations, SWNS reported – so the team found a way to “replicate the results minus the stressors”.
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Ashkenazi said: “We have developed optimal culture conditions and invented a new, clean way to increase levels of healthy natural bioactive compounds…We have produced ‘super algae’ tailor-made to be [used] by emerging health industries for food and health applications. »
Researchers are considering anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibiotic substances, SWNS said.
Scientists claim that seaweed aquaculture is environmentally friendly and minimizes excess amounts of man-made nutrients.
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Ashkenazi added: “The study demonstrates, in a practical way, how we can enjoy nature…without harming it.
He also said: “We can learn from nature how to preserve it, and thus live and prosper alongside it.”