A bioreactor has been flown to the International Space Station (ISS) to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen using algae. The lives of the astronauts on-board the ISS will not hinge on it working properly as it is an experiment to see if the concept is viable for long-duration spaceflight. It is hoped one day it will be part of a'closed-loop' system that can sustain missions to the moon, Mars and beyond. Current trips are limited by what can be carried on rockets but the potential for a complete system would open up more opportunities for space travel. A bioreactor (pictured) has been flown to the International Space Station (ISS) to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen using algae.
It's easy to underestimate the awesome superpowers of the tiny plants we all know as algae. The photosynthetic organisms are minuscule powerhouses capable of generating light and energy while scrubbing greenhouse gas emissions from the air. Many types of algae are also edible, fueling the human body with hard-to-get vitamins and minerals. Over the years, designers and engineers have worked to incorporate algae into everything from energy-generating furniture to air-cleaning light fixtures and even pollution-busting highway overpasses, all in an attempt to put the tiny plants to work for people in very real ways. The trend of integrating algae into product design continues, growing more efficient and fantastic with each passing year.
The world must turn towards healthy plant-based diets to stop climate change, a UN-backed report has warned. Our food system accounts for between 25 and 30 per cent of greenhouse gases, and is choking the life from fresh and coastal waterways with excess nitrogen. In order to feed the predicted 9.8 billion people on Earth in 2050, the world will need to produce 56 per cent more food compared to 2010. If the level of meat and dairy consumption rises in line with current food habits, six million square kilometres (2.3 million square miles) of forests would need to be converted to agriculture - an area twice the size of India. Two-thirds would be changed to pasture land, with the final third being used for crops, according to the Creating a Sustainable Food Future report.
Microalgae could be crucial in stopping climate change, researchers have found. It can be used to make biofuels and even feed for farm animals and fish farms. Microalgae grows faster than terrestrial plants and produces an equal amount of food in less than one-tenth the land area, making it a'key solution.' It uses a light source to cultivate organisms such as algae which uses photosynthesis to release energy from light and carbon dioxide. Biofuels made from marine microalgae could reduce the use of carbon-based fossil fuels such as petroleum.
The bedrock of the ocean's food chain, on which whales, sharks, and octopi ultimately rely, are tiny bits of photosynthetic algae called diatoms. They come in thousands of shapes and are imperceptible to the human eye. If their populations collapse or shrink, there could be dramatic reverberations throughout the vast marine food web. Scientists have now identified a climate change-related threat to diatoms, and it comes from a known and growing threat: Ocean acidification. In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, scientists collected a species of diatom from the ocean and exposed it to increased seawater acidity -- akin to the projected ocean acidity levels by the end of the century.