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Algae As A Source Food For Livestock

Diego Mendiola
Wastewater treatment pools

Friday, in a follow up to Growing Algae From Fracking Wastewater As A Biofuel, the research team at USU is finding new ways to feed the world as well, they have found that algae is high in protein and in nutrients.


In a small, shanty greenhouse a churning machine spins disks and barrels covered in black green colored algae. The researchers here are testing the most efficient way of growing these multipurpose organisms.

There is a lot of rotating in these experiments because it is a good way for the organisms to get a bath in the wastewater which is full of nutrients and then get exposed to the sun which is important for all photosynthetic life.

USU researchers are trying to make this algae substitute soy for livestock and fish feed, leaving the soy for humans. In October, department head of bioengineering at USU, Ron Sims and his graduate research team are set to take 10 kilos or about twenty pounds of harvested algae to test as a fish feed in Bozeman, Montana.

“What we want to do is to extract the protein from the algae and look at the protein as a source of nutrient supplement for fish and for dairy,” Sims said. “The Caine Dairy Center looked at the protein extract in glass reactors.”

Glass reactors are chemistry equipment that can simulate what happens in the rumen or the stomach of a cow.

“They looked at digestibility and thought it was wonderful, as good as, if not better than some of the mixtures used to feed the dairy,” Sims said. “We need at least 10 to 15 kilograms per day per cow. There is enough waste water out there but we need funding to be able to scale this up.”