ALG-AD’s close alignment to current and emerging UK, EU and UN strategy
As our ALG-AD project moves towards its final phase it seems opportune to highlight how our work is closely aligned to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, to Europe’s Farm to Fork Strategy, and to the recently published UKRI-BBSRC 10-year RoadMap on plant science research.
In ALG-AD we aim to reduce waste and create feed for farm animals and fish. As an interdisciplinary project, ALG-AD has embedded circular economy principals by taking unwanted nutrients that could be damaging to the environment, and converting them, through the culturing of microalgae, into biomass high in protein, for use as a feed. Biomass is also being characterised for molecules with other useful properties with higher value.
Microalgae, more generally, have an important role to play in maintaining the diversity and health of our planet and in helping us address long-term societal challenges. Perhaps often overlooked due to their microscopic size, in terms of global production, microalgae are equally if not more important than plants. Microalgae can be used to produce novel foods and feeds and as such, they can and should be recognised as part of a resilient agricultural system to produce sustainable, safe and nutritious food. Microalgae also have strong potential in manufacturing as biofactory-based production systems for biomaterials and biomolecules for a wide range of health and industrial applications. Microalgae really can be an important part of the move to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.
As climate change, biodiversity and agricultural practice all point to the need to move towards protecting our planet and a more plant-based diet, then microalgae are strong contenders. As highlighted in the BBSRC 10-year Green Roadmap on Plant Research, the EU Farm to Fork Strategy and in the UN SDGs, the themes of sustainable food production (including sustainably sourced fish oils and vegan based proteins), climate change mitigation, and petrochemical replacement biobased chemicals are all important. Microalgae pack quite a punch across all these areas.
As our ALG-AD project moves into the next phase of assessing sustainable algae-based feeds for aquaculture, new and exciting opportunities continue to emerge.