Feed & Additive Magazine Issue 16 May 2022

ISSUE FOCUS 20 FEED & ADDITIVE MAGAZINE May 2022 "As nature’s “green gold”, microalgae address sustainability & environmental protection challenges.1 The use of microalgae in animal nutrition sector is attracting a fast-growing interest because of their unique properties and capabilities for health promotion and environmental protection." WHAT ARE MICROALGAE? Alga is defined as a simple, non-flowering, and typically aquatic plant that contains chlorophyll but has no true stems, roots, and leaves. More than 70,000 different algae species have been identified worldwide (European Algae Biomass Association, 2021), ranging from giant kelp (large seaweeds belong to multicellular macroalgae family) to unicellular microalgae. Microalgae are microscopic organisms found in both seawater and freshwater. They can be classified as eukaryotic microorganisms or prokaryotic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), with more than 25,000 species already isolated and identified.2 MICROALGAE IN NATURE Microalgae play a vital role in aquatic ecosystems being the foundation of the food chain for all aquatic organisms. They perform photosynthesis, which is an important natural mechanism to reduce the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration through converting sunlight, water and CO2 to algal biomass and oxygen. It is estimated that these single-celled microorganisms produce most of the oxygen we breathe. They are also able to lower the concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus in wastewater and help tackling the environmental pollution and climate change. AN UNTAPPED NATURAL RESOURCE FOR ANIMAL NUTRITION Microalgae cultivation benefits from a short generation time as the microorganisms can multiply exponentially under favorable environmental conditions. However, of the several thousand microalgae species, only a few dozen are currently commercialized. Microalgae are considered as indispensable resources for food, bioactives, nutraceuticals, pigments, bioenergy molecules, biofertilizers, and agents for bioremediation.3 The main applications of microalgae are summarized in Figure 1.2 Future success of animal nutrition industry in sustainably safeguarding the animals’ food security depends on utilization of innovative feed resources which do not compete with human food. Carole Anne Llewellyn, Professor in Applied Aquatic Bioscience at Swansea University believes THE PROMISING FUTURE OF ANIMAL NUTRITION IN HANDS OF MICROALGAE! Behnaz Shakersain, PhD Marketing & Scientific Liaison AstaReal Sweden