Algae Used As Superfood for Space Travel (Hometown News)

Algae Used As Superfood for Space Travel

Algae is often an unwelcome sign in Florida. Harmful algae blooms are a persistent cause of harm to the state’s ecosystem, but not all algae is considered destructive.

Dr. Andrew Mark Settles, UF/IFAS horticultural science professor, is taking part in research designed to grow spirulina, a type of algae that hopes to provide food for long term space travel.

“There were places where the indigenous people had trouble getting enough protein. This is a nontoxic algae that is very high in protein, it’s photosynthetic and most of the nutrition value is protein,” Dr. Settles said. “On top of that, because it’s a cyanobacteria and it doesn’t really have a wall it’s going to have a fair number of antioxidants and other things that protect it.”

This particular type of algae, however, can be filtered and eaten fresh, making it ideal for condition in space flight. Dr. Settles and his staff will spend six months cultivating the spirulina in labs and six months in space.

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