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Is DIY Algae Farming the Future?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the for-fun-and-food-and-friendship dept.

Biotech 322

hex0D points to this "interview with Aaron Baum explaining why people growing algae at home for food can help the environment and their health, and what he's doing to facilitate this. 'We'd like to create an international network of people growing all kinds of algae in their homes in a small community scale, sharing information, doing it all in an open source way. We'd be like the Linux of algae – do-it-yourself with low-cost materials and shared information.' And one of the low-cost materials is your household urine."

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Looks like people are starting to see the benefits (4, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556154)

Although I wouldn't consume algae as a food source, I could certainly use it as a fuel source.

I even make LED panels for growing specific species of algae, for this very purpose.

Re:Looks like people are starting to see the benef (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556190)

Absolutely bonkers. Except as a hobby, there's no way you can make anything worthwile here.

Re:Looks like people are starting to see the benef (0)

kfz-versicherung (1776496) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556292)

Absolutely.

This year I grew some tomatoes on the balcony. Its about half a snack..

I wonder what his angle is...

Re:Looks like people are starting to see the benef (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556368)

Sell his LEDs?
nice nickname btw

Re:Looks like people are starting to see the benef (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556516)

This year I grew some zucchini on the balcony. I've made almost $600 at the farmer's market.

So far...

Re:Looks like people are starting to see the benef (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556752)

That must be one heck of a balcony [wordpress.com] .

Re:Looks like people are starting to see the benef (2, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557232)

I have made no money with my own "victory garden". However, I have managed to produce small quantity of items that I can't get in sufficient quality at my local green grocer.

I think this algae idea is totally bonkers.

Re:Looks like people are starting to see the benef (3, Interesting)

danny_lehman (1691870) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556722)

on a gram by gram basis Corella Algae is actually like SUPER nutritious. NASA i think experimented with using it for long space flights in the 60/70's. So your body can function longer running on a tomato-sized amount of algae than it could on an actual tomato.

Ancient alien conspirators actually believe that the Holy Grail was actually a Manna Machine that produced this kind of algae. Fun Fact..

kinda skimmed the article but i think hes getting at the idea that it's a good supplement and could have potential in enriching foods.

Re:Looks like people are starting to see the benef (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33557126)

There was an article a few months back that showed that you need certain enzimes produced by some specific bacteria, to digest algae.

Re:Looks like people are starting to see the benef (4, Interesting)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556320)

You might want to reconsider growing algae for food, one research group at my university is investigating growing algae to produce sugar, so we don't have to cut down forests to grow sugarcane. Also, I really hope those LED panels are solar powered. As solar powered LED panels emitting light at frequencies the algae uses can be far more efficient than growing algae in direct sunlight(even cheap solar panels are more efficient at solar conversion than algae).

Re:Looks like people are starting to see the benef (2, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557120)

But the solar powered LEDs take a lot of energy to manufacture and ship. At what scales does it make more sense to use direct sunlight to grow algae rather than use a solar powered LED?

Re:Looks like people are starting to see the benef (3, Insightful)

iwaybandit (1632765) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557142)

Sugar producing algae? I WANT!!!
Just add yeast. Fun for all.

Re:Looks like people are starting to see the benef (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557062)

Ever had a spirulina [wikipedia.org] product, usually a smoothy/drink?

Urine? (2, Insightful)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556164)

Does this article really suggest feeding algae urine and then using it as a food product?

Re:Urine? (4, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556278)

You do understand that in many places normal food crops are still fertilized by feces?

Re:Urine? (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556504)

In the developed world, we prefer the euphemism "biosolids".

Dealing with the leftovers of sewage treatment is so much more cost effective when they can be classified as fertilizer. Luckily, absolutely nobody would dream of dumping heavy metals or some of the nastier organics into the general sewage system, so soil application is entirely safe...

Re:Urine? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556548)

My ex's father runs a multimillion business of manually collecting the feces of livestock and refining it into fertilizer. It works beautifully - raw materials are readily avalable for low or no cost, and much of the business is in the local agriculture community.

Re:Urine? (1)

HelioWalton (1821492) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556670)

Up near my cottage, the local septic tank sucker has a septic pond where he dumps the sucker trucks, mushes it around and whatnot, getting the not-good-stuff out, then pumps it out into a sprayer truck. He sprays local farm fields. I'm sure it doubles his money. People pay him to take their poo away, then he gets payed to spray it all over someone elses field.

Re:Urine? (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556782)

The rest of us would pay that much not to have a marsh of human waste in our backyards.

Re:Urine? (2, Informative)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556568)

Feces are pathogenic unless very carefully composted. Urine is sterile right out of the tap.

Re:Urine? (2, Informative)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556578)

Well, unless you happen to have a bladder infection at the moment, then perhaps not.

Re:Urine? (3, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556890)

Sterile, sure, but with all the prescriptions we are on here in the developed world... not necessarily free from extras.

Re:Urine? (4, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556984)

You'll have some very happy depression-free and horny little soil microbes, then? That's a good thing, right?

Re:Urine? (2, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557096)

Sterile, sure, but with all the prescriptions we are on here in the developed world... not necessarily free from extras.

Well the good news is that if they're on Viagra the urine ends up on the wall instead of in the bowl...

Re:Urine? (0)

harrytuttle777 (1720146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557080)

Nothing is quite as refreshing as a good frothy cup of sterile urine early in the morning.
Better then a Guinness any day

Re:Urine? (4, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556654)

You do understand that in many places normal food crops are still fertilized by feces?

But....

The use of human feces as fertilizer is a risky practice as it may contain disease-causing pathogens and because it contains heavy metals. Nevertheless, in developing nations it is widespread. Common parasitic worm infections, such as ascariasis, in these countries are linked to night soil, since their eggs are in feces. Night soil [wikipedia.org]

Nearly 2.2 million people die each year because of diarrhea-related diseases, including cholera, according to WHO statistics. More than 80 percent of those cases can be attributed to contact with contaminated water and a lack of proper sanitation. Human Waste Used by 200 Million Farmers, Study Says [nationalgeographic.com]

Re:Urine? (3, Informative)

tacarat (696339) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556846)

I lived in one of those places while in the military. We were advised to not eat the local fresh veggies unless we could peel them. I think hepatitis was one of the concerns due to blood in the untreated sewage.

Re:Urine? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556288)

I use urine in my compost. Its sterile, full of nitrogen and phosphates, generally a good thing.

Re:Urine? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556556)

... generally a good thing.

Tell that to the little critters in there who don't care for smell of secondhand garlic and tuna.

Re:Urine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556416)

You're right, it's a ridiculous idea. I'm sure there's plenty of resources to be found lying around in space.

Re:Urine? (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556466)

A quick show of hands, who's ever pissed on a lemon tree?

Re:Urine? (2, Interesting)

copponex (13876) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556512)

Everything you eat and drink was once pissed or shit out of something else. That's why you can't dump chemicals into the environment without eventually experiencing the consequences. [msn.com]

The further up the food chain you go, the more concentrated the toxins become. I suspect that's one of the reason's we're all dying of cancer.

Re:Urine? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556610)

Nope. We are all dying of cancer because we now live long enough to get cancer.

If you don't want to die from cancer, I suggest that you move to a preindustrial society so you can die in your 30s or 40s from some other cause like malnutrition or disease.

Re:Urine? (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556718)

And that explains how I got cancer at 13?

Re:Urine? (1)

harrytuttle777 (1720146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557160)

Some dick head put 5.9721986*10^16 kg of lead onto the crust of the planet. 'Hello'Ever hear of lead poisoning. To make matters worse, the amount of lead on the planet is actually growing every second. Won't someone think of the children. I for one wan't to get of this hell hole of a planet before all this living kills me.

Let's track down this m*ther f**kin* creator and sue his ass for putting all these harmful chemicals into the environment.

Does mold count? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556172)

I'm skilled at cultivating mold on the floor, shower curtain, and walls of my shower. Perhaps these moldy efforts can help the environment and health.

Re:Does mold count? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556196)

You are a credit to mankind.

Re:Does mold count? (2, Informative)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556360)

make sure your mold is not Monsanto-copyrighted.

Re:Does mold count? (2, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556538)

Add algae to that and you'll have a space-hardy lifeform that you can fry up like potato chips but waaay healthier. Crispy!

Skeeters control? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556182)

Problem with standing water and algae is that they attract mosquitoes. How is this issue normally addressed?

Re:Skeeters control? (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556200)

By keeping it covered.

Re:Skeeters control? (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556218)

Its been raised as an issue with rainwater tanks where I live. The solution seems to be to have a grid of fly wire over all large openings so that the mozzies can't get in and out.

Re:Skeeters control? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556510)

What on earth is "fly wire"? Try googling it.

Re:Skeeters control? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556762)

Wire to keep flies out. You don't have a fly wire door on your house? It must be full of flies.

(its an Australianism, like hats with corks swinging from the brim).

Re:Skeeters control? (1)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556848)

Of course we have it. Yanks call it "screen."
I like the term "fly wire" though. It's very descriptive for what it does.
We don't, however, have the hats with the corks unless we brought it back from a trip Down Under.

Re:Skeeters control? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556916)

We need finer "screen" than the stuff we typically use on windows here, though. I've seen motivated mosquitoes squeeze through the stuff. For growing algae, I'd want something almost as fine as cheesecloth. Fungus gnats are another potential huge problem, as I suspect they might settle for algae, and they're smaller than mosquitoes.

Re:Skeeters control? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556950)

Okay, we call it "screen" or "screening" here in the U.S., as in "screen door". See my reply to the other fella regarding characteristics.

What's up with the corks?

Re:Skeeters control? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557156)

What's up with the corks?

The theory is that its the same as swiping the flies away with your hand, but experience shows that hands and corks are equally bad at that.

flywire (1)

deesine (722173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556804)

one word. I also put "mosquitos" after it.

Re:Skeeters control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556254)

Mosquito fish.

Re:Skeeters control? (3, Informative)

MattskEE (925706) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556362)

In commercial algae growth, the water is not standing, it is agitated. For home algae growth you may not use an agitator, but I imagine at the least you would use an air bubbler like in fish tanks to keep things mixed. And of course, by screening any openings the mosquitoes can't get in to lay eggs.

self defeating business plan (4, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556184)

...people growing algae at home for food ....... And one of the low-cost materials is your household urine.

Somehow I think this business is it's own worst enemy. Perhaps they should omit that little part of the plan, at least until they start making some progress with the rest. How could they think this was a good way to promote a new food source?

Re:self defeating business plan (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556238)

Or, as those with a Pittsburgh speech patter might say: "I thought this algae was mine, but it's your'in.

Re:self defeating business plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556240)

self defecating business plan

Fixed that for you...

you just know someone is going to do this (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556420)

Oh, I'm feeling so sorry for Ed Begley, Jr.'s neighbors right now.

Re:self defeating business plan (4, Interesting)

MattskEE (925706) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556432)

It's put in the summary for shock value I think, but really what they need is mainly nitrogen (prevalent in fertilizer and also urine) and carbon dioxide. In one of their experiments they fed the algae exhaust from a generator. They could also be fed agricultural runoff rich in fertilizers, which is a problem when it reaches streams and oceans because it is so nutritious for algae that it produces algal blooms.

I'm sure you could feed your algae off of a bag of fertilizer from home depot, it's just like gardening but in water.

Re:self defeating business plan (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556488)

Urine is sterile. What's the big deal? I piss in the shower all the time and don't even aim for the drain, and I'm just as healthy as anybody who doesn't.

Re:self defeating business plan (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556536)

Uh huh. Are you pointing your dick up and drinking it in the shower? Capturing the showering water to make Mac N Cheese?

"Sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but that don't mean I'll eat the mother fuckers"

I'll take your word for it that it is in fact sterile, but disagree (along with most of the planet) that it is an acceptable culinary ingredient.

Re:self defeating business plan (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556878)

Past my first sentence it was mostly just literary license for fun....

Re:self defeating business plan (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557152)

If you have ever been in a communal shower situation, sports, low rent dorms, etc, you should know the value of urine as a mild anti-fungal agent. To avoid athletes foot, you should pee on your feet in the shower.

Re:self defeating business plan (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557130)

Urine is sterile when it exits your body. After that all sort of stuff grows in it.

Re:self defeating business plan (2, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556664)

How could they think this was a good way to promote a new food source?

It's better than the truth: soylent green is people.

Re:self defeating business plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556688)

No problem; just point out some of the even more disgusting aspects of production of commonly-consumed foods.

Look further (1)

blai (1380673) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556212)

I suggest genetically engineering ourselves, such that algae and us develop some kind of symbiotic relationship. We will then only need water and light to survive, thus solving all of the world's food shortage problems.

Then we worry about charging our iphonies.

Re:Look further (4, Funny)

hex0D (1890162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556296)

When I was a teenager my girlfriends mother commented on my long dyed green hair (which was much less common 20 years ago - now I dye my lawn green; so stay off it!) I tried to convince her that it was green on account of my culturing a symbiotic edible algae in it for convenient snacking, which I don't think helped my cause at all.

And yes, I was under the influence of something else that was green when I thought that'd be a good idea.

Re:Look further (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556464)

So you're suggesting we evolve to become lichen, then? Brilliant. Even survives in space, as noted recently, so we can ramp up the space program again with significant savings. Good luck gettin' your groove on at that stage, though.

Holy cunnilingus, Batman! (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556226)

We'd be like the Linux of algae – do-it-yourself with low-cost materials and shared information.' And one of the low-cost materials is your household urine.

So, like I start going down on the bitch, and complain that she tastes like algae and household urine. And then she quips, "But it runs Linux!"

Can't argue with that . . .

Does this mean I can start selling... (1)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556232)

The algae in my bathtub? I'll be rich!

This sounds like... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556252)

... a great way to give yourself the shits in whole new and exciting ways previously unknown to mankind.

It's cryptosporidi-yummy!

aa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556282)

Maybe if they coated the outsides of buildings in it but I dont think people want an algae tank in their windowsill. Also I dont think people want to eat it, as a fuel maybe but not as food..

Is progress that makes life worse really progress? (3, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556396)

Is shooting yourself in the head to avoid a pointless and severely unpleasant (but "sustainable") existence in a dystopian ecologically green world "the future"? Can we deprive ourselves of everything good about life so our children can inherit a world where they'll also have to deprive themselves of everything good about life? Is this wise?

Why wouldn't we choose to strive for a good outcome rather than the worst possible outcome where we all (sort-of) survive?

Do you have the blueprints to the Discovery Channel building?

Re:Is progress that makes life worse really progre (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556526)

Food is only a small part of enjoyment. Our children in this dystopia will see food eating as a mundane but necessary task like drinking water and will focus on all the other joys of life instead.

Re:Is progress that makes life worse really progre (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556612)

Like driving or flying to a nice vacation spot? Nope.
Like reclining in air conditioned comfort of their spacious homes? Nope and nope.

There's nothing good about life that extreme environmentalists wouldn't frown on.

Re:Is progress that makes life worse really progre (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556746)

Who gives a shit what extreme anybody thinks, it doesn't mean you don't have to worry about sustainable alternatives because you don't agree with some whack that wants you to sit on your hands all day. Sounds like a convenient excuse to do whatever you want because the extreme opposition is 'wrong'.

Re:Is progress that makes life worse really progre (1, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557010)

Who gives a shit what extreme anybody thinks, it doesn't mean you don't have to worry about sustainable alternatives because you don't agree with some whack that wants you to sit on your hands all day. Sounds like a convenient excuse to do whatever you want because the extreme opposition is 'wrong'.

Doing whatever I want? You mean like a free person in a free society? That's a subversive idea you have there. I can see why you posted it anonymously.

Extreme environmentalists aren't really into letting you choose whether you care about what they think. They demand obedience to their enlightened authority.

Re:Is progress that makes life worse really progre (5, Funny)

Shark (78448) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556780)

We could use extreme environmentalists as fuel. Since most of them are also vegetarian, they'd even be carbon-neutral!

Re:Is progress that makes life worse really progre (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556700)

The advantage of "progress" that makes life worse, or at least having access to the technology and engineering needed to institute it on short notice, really depends on how optimistic you are about the alternative.

If you are of the optimistic "steady-state-or-even-better" school, giving up long hot showers, giant pieces of perfectly cooked cow corpse, and 85 degree buildings all winter for its own sake is a rather curious and masochistic hobby. Fine if that is your thing; but not really for general consumption, much less compulsory introduction.

The great utility of "worse progress" comes in the event of some sort of nasty supply shock. The basic problem is this: "progress"(R&D, engineering, building infrastructure, educating people, etc.) requires that a civilization be able to run a surplus in energy, food, and other useful materials. If civilization falls short of that, it generally falls back on eating its own infrastructure to survive(just consider the amount of european masonry that was just pilfered from roman stuff; because that was easier than mining it, and they couldn't make concrete anymore). Worst case, you not only get infrastructure degradation(both material and human capital) from lack of maintenance and training; but further destruction as people fight over the scraps.

In our case, hydrocarbons have essentially allowed us to, for the past century or two, run massive surpluses. If we have to get off that particular train, we have to hope that the fusion/solar/orbiting microwave satellite/thorium breeder reactor/etc. guys have it together by that time, or things are going to get ugly. The nightmare scenario is that we lose the ability to run surpluses before we perfect the next energy source. If that happens, we might never have another shot at it. "Worse" technologies have the potential to be a useful delaying tactic, allowing us to run an R&D and infrastructure construction surplus long enough to get something else in place. Also handy in extreme environments, like space colonies or antarctic bases or what have you.

Re:Is progress that makes life worse really progre (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556978)

Yeah, but this article isn't about some sort of apocalyptic struggle against extinction. He wants you to start growing this stuff with your urine right now.

Re:Is progress that makes life worse really progre (2, Interesting)

GWRedDragon (1340961) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557146)

Fortunately, there is enough easily accessible uranium in the Earth's crust to power civilization for tens of thousands of years. Modern nuclear plant designs are incredibly safe, and the French have proved that spent fuel reprocessing can be done quite efficiently. If there's a true civilization-ending energy crisis ahead, we have a LONG time to work on it. For now, the main issue is improving battery/fuel cell technology so that electricity generated by nuclear reactors can be used for transportation.

That is, assuming you buy into the concept of near-term "peak oil" in the first place.

Re:Is progress that makes life worse really progre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556716)

Is shooting yourself in the head to avoid a pointless and severely unpleasant (but "sustainable") existence in a dystopian ecologically green world "the future"?

No, but don't let that stop you from doing it.

I'm not optimistic, but... (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556418)

I'd love for there to be some sort of automatic control system that takes measurements and makes optimal adjustments in titration, temperature, etc. I imagine that this would potentially be a cheap part with a USB plug. But even with this, who will invite people to their house for algae and crackers? And when guests ask for the bathroom, the answer is "Are you sure you don't want to just fertilize the algae? Anyway, want more crackers?"

I think that here is a case where the hippies really have it wrong. If algae is ever going to become a regular part of our diet, it will be grown in factory-scale facilities, not in aquariums that block our windows. Also, I'd like geneticists to engineer a better flavor for it than "seaweed".

DIY? (1)

GigG (887839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556428)

DIY, No. Commercial maybe.

Re:DIY? (1)

hex0D (1890162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556558)

DIY and commercial aren't mutually exclusive. Nearly all DIY projects incorporate commercial components. Like buying a new alternator for your car to install yourself instead of taking it to the garage, installing an OS yourself even though you didn't write it, or building your own airplane, say.

And by 'DIY' the article means as opposed to buying pre-packaged algae grown in a commercial farm.

Abstinence really is the best policy (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556434)

I'm already doing this simply by abstaining from cleaning my toilet bowl. I haven't figured out the harvesting phase yet, though.

Re:Abstinence really is the best policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556726)

damm you are dirty

Re:Abstinence really is the best policy (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556888)

No, that would be my toilet bowl... if algae is dirty.

Accidental agriculture... (5, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556486)

Yay! The pool I don't clean is the FUTURE!

Make it taste good first (2, Interesting)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556492)

The reason people don't eat algae is that it tastes bad. The author himself says he can only eat 15 grams a day, which comes to about 60 calories. Gee, that's only 3% of his daily energy needs. Now, if he could splice in some genes to make his spirulina taste like beef or chicken, he'd have a lot more success.

Personally, I'd like it if somebody worked on engineering trees instead. A tree growing potatoes with sugarcane's photosynthesis efficiency could feed the world.

Re:Make it taste good first (4, Interesting)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556750)

I think growing a maple tree or two in the back yard and tapping them would produce about the same amount of calories he's taking in, with a lot less maintenance, and much better tasting product.

Re:Make it taste good first (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557040)

I seriously doubt he's eating it for the calories. Spirulina is high in a bunch of useful nutrients [wikipedia.org] . Have fun eating nothing but potatoes. Personally, I like to get a little something that isn't starch in my diet.

Hoo boy (2, Funny)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556494)

We'd be like the Linux of algae

So they're going to grow algae in their neckbeards?

Re:Hoo boy (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557190)

Nah. They just want to spend the next ten years talking about the year of algae in the backyard.

I get the joke, but I think the goals are just to make the information open to anyone who wants to use it. I can't say if it will be effective or not, but it's not a bad ideal.

DIY Soylent Green (1)

Ranger (1783) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556596)

It's made from algae as far as you know.

Home Brew (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556634)

It looks remarkably like a home-brew setup for making moonshine. Probably would have a similar future too - only dedicated enthusiasts would take it up, as big business can do it more economically on a larger scale, and if it did take off it would be made illegal and/or heavily taxed to make sure the government gets its cut.

Re:Home Brew (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557048)

For the exception of the microscope, everything in his setup can be purchased from your local home center and Walmart and the big food grade white drums you can get from a distributor for about $10 a piece.

I can dupe his setup for less than a hundred bucks - no microscope. The microscope - monocular with an effective mag of 1000x would run at least $250 (Konus.) I can't tell what he has, though.

Yeah, factory would be more economical - when it's achieved but in the meantime, it's cheaper to do it at home. Go to a Wholefoods and see what the Spira is going for. Your own setup would pay for itself in less than a year. Faster if you're really into the stuff.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556756)

Algae farming isn't the future. Nerf herding is.

Welcome to Trantor (4, Interesting)

Digicrat (973598) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556990)

Asimov predicted this decades ago [wikipedia.org] . Just another case of science catching up to fiction, or perhaps this just validates the theories of psychohistory that we aren't supposed to know about..

Of course, there's a long way to go before we generate enough recipes and concoctions of artificial ingredients to make it palatable, so that it's economically and socially mandated to create massive bio-farms.

For more information, refer to your copy of the Encyclopedia Galactica.

vegan propoganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556996)

"...When I eat spirulina – I eat vegan – I don't have cravings for meat or sugar..."

Just what we need, a meat & sugar addict who's 'on the wagon'.

selling stuff you learned for free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33557176)

is just priceless

Spirulina: A sustainable approach to combat malnutrition - Case study [antenna.ch]
Teaching manual: Grow your own spirulina [antenna.ch]

in optimal sunny conditions, you can grow 150grams
of dry spirulina in a 20cm deep (7.87inches) 20square meter (215 square feet) pool
since spirulina is 65 to 71 percent protein,
thats 97.5 to 106.5 grams of protein
and as its 3.9 calories per gram of protein,
thats 380.25 to 415.35 calories

as multivitamin, definitely worth it, but a food source?
i guess it might be worth it if you had nothing else to eat,
but you had plentiful cheap electricity, grow lights stacked to the ceiling ....

thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33557242)

My thanks to the submitter and the editor. Once or twice a week there is a really good article here. I'm a nature nerd not a computer programming nerd, so the good articles are sorta lean here, but this was one was excellent.

Yeasts are other sorts of interesting little food particles. If anyone of you haven't tried it yet, "nutritional yeast" found in powdered form at the health food stores is quite tasty. Sort of a nutty/cheesy flavor. Note: this is different from bread making yeast or beer yeast, look for "nutritional" on the label. The other stuff is rather strong and nasty tasting by itself, Nutritional yeast is quite good. The quickest way to try some is sprinkle some on popcorn.

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