Biotech Updates

Algae, A Mean Green Cleaning Machine

May 13, 2010

Scientists at the Agricultural Research Service Environmental Management and Byproduct Utilization Research Unit in Beltsville, Maryland led by Walter Mulbry have shown that the green filamentous algae can be utilized to remove nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants in the livestock as well as poultry manure runoff. The algal turf scrubber (ATS), as they call it could clean the dairy manure effluent within two to three weeks, absorbing 60 to 90 per cent of the nitrogen and 70 to 100 percent of the phosphorous.

The dried algae were also found to be an effective organic fertilizer for corn and cucumber seedlings, comparable to those grown with commercial fertilizers. Currently, the ATS system is being used to help reduce the amount of agricultural pollutants flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.

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