Very cool story, anyone a spirulina fan with recommendations? Can one do this at home?
"Tel Aviv high school science project could bring ‘superfood’ to Africa
Pupils at the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium are trying to perfect a way to grow Spirulina, an algae that’s been dubbed the “superfood” because it contains 70% protein."
Efforts by a group of pupils at a Tel Aviv secondary school to grow algae in plastic bottles to help fight malnutrition has attracted the attention of UNESCO, Rotary International, international education organizations and dozens of African schools.http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/tel-aviv-high-school-science-project-could-bring-superfood-to-africa.premium-1.508056?localLinksEnabled=false
The pupils at the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium are trying to perfect a way to grow Spirulina, an algae that’s been dubbed the “superfood” because it contains 70% protein, more than any other natural food. It has all the amino acids humans require and a high level of many vitamins.
The aim is to find an inexpensive, simple, effective way to grow the algae that could then be replicated in schools in poor nations and help feed millions of children around the world.
“They won’t feel full,” explains Maya Levi, one of the teens working on the project. “But they won’t be malnourished, either.”
The pupils divide the algae’s growth solution into plastic bottles and attach them to a wooden installation that blows carbon bubbles into them.
“We have light from the sun, the carbon flows in for the photosynthesis and the bubbles mix it up,” explains Miri Wilizhinsky, another project participant.
The bubble machine saves the pupils having to take the bottles home. “We’d have to be shaking them all the time,” explained Noa Collander.
Teacher Lydia Sasson, who is overseeing the project, said that the pupils had set up a public benefit corporation called Algeed to advance the project.
“We have researchers, developers and documentation, but as in any new company, everyone does everything,” she said.
Soon they will take the project to the next level by getting 10 schools, five Jewish and five Arab, to also begin growing the Spirulina.
“We hope that within a year we will finish the research and take this to the world,” said Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium principal Dr. Zeev Degani.
This week an Ethiopian education official visited to see the project. “The organizations working with us are just waiting for us to be ready. The initial potential is for between 700 and 1,000 schools all over the world,” said Degani.
Once a week, Boris Zlotnikov, who has a Spirulina farm in the Negev, comes by in his capacity as technical adviser to the project. Dr. Yaron Yehoshua, founder of the Algae Biotechnology Center at Bar-Ilan University, accompanies the research on a volunteer basis.
Yehoshua notes that an important benefit of the Spirulina is that it’s easy to produce.
“We still have a series of experiments in front of us: Temperature differences, different concentrations of the food that’s the basis for the algae, [amounts of] light and different growing methods ? in plastic bags, for instance,” Yehoshua says.
At the end of the process, he says, “We’ll reach the optimal growing conditions and build a model that will increase the protein concentration in the algae.”
The pupils busy with the project know it won’t end when the school year ends, but they’re not complaining. The complaints come only when there’s an electricity outage while they’re preparing the algae solutions.