The definition of the origin of algae is becoming clearer than ever. The better understanding of ecology with the advancements in sequencing technology has aid in identification in hundreds of thousands diatoms, microalgae, and other marine microbes which have the potential to increase the speed of the sustainable economy. The accurate and refined identification of microbes is creating a catalog of renewable raw material that can be expanded into eco-friendly products. And with the development of molecular tool box promotes an understanding of small molecular networks in microalgae which were not available recently and also have a significant impact. The continuous improvisation in understanding the molecular gateways of microalgae allows us to engineer the structure better while removing the weak links. However, in addition to this, we have knew that algae have been part of human diet for at least 2500 years with records in Japan and China.
Wonder, how we can use algae nowadays? The advancements in flavor and general food industry, We have the potential to create multiple day to day products for human consumption at low input energy.
Some examples are toothpaste, chocolate milk, candies, cosmetics, ice creams, paint, ink, and pharmaceuticals. Of the more than 70,000 different algae species known, less than 50 are currently used in commercial production, so we can assume that there is a growing number of uses that have yet to be discovered.
The Algae nomenclature is well established in the scientific world but it won`t be popular in market or among consumers, considering the lack of interest in knowing these complex names like Chlorella pyrenoidosa, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, Chlorella sorokiniana etc. We already know different algae types can have both distinct and common features.
Certain government regulation and policies must exist to develop market and user-friendly nomenclature for these algae to be use wisely by all businesses, consumers and producers. Is it an agricultural activity or similar to the agriculture products. What is the difference between the nutrition, flavour and other attributes between algae products and agricultural products as it matters a lot in the consumer section. The code of conduct and marketing strategy through different platforms can raise the clear understanding about algae. It is also important to consider that fact the algae culture is also sustainable and possible to grow efficiently in-home environment with less space. It is the only source that have the potential to self-survive the human society during pandemics and other national security issues which can stop the globalisation and economic activity. Until now, there is no fixed scientific catalog aka taxonomic assignment for this Eukaryotic Kingdom.
But if we want know the common Definition of Algae
Based on biological term, it is a green photosynthetic microbe have chlorophyll to maintain and run the photosynthetic machinery. A very simple definition would be “Algae is a living bacteria that requires adequate environment for chlorophyll to run the molecular machinery sustainability to produce variety of products”.
A formal definition from Wikipedia says- Algae is an informal term for a large, diverse group of photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms that are not evolutionary related, and therefore polyphyletic (of different taxonomic backgrounds).
Another informal definition would a small live cell that stores the electricity to be converted into another forms.
There is a wide variety of the algae species available in all geographical locations adapted to grow in that particular environment effectively. This versatile nature of the algae makes it different from the life forms or trees or crops which have a specific climate requirement, land area or another specification. Algae is less demanding and more productive. Although, there are certain hurdles in setting up the growing platform but the progress have been significant in last 20 years as many countries in all continents have evolved and consuming algae in way or the other.
Until now, the researchers have been using the morphological information of the algae to define its type and taxonomy but it is time consuming to study thousands of undiscovered species. Therefore, the sequencing technology have performed a significant role in increasing the speed of identification. It is done using barcode technology based on certain regions of genetic elements in the organism. It is similar to the barcode in the products on the shelf of your supermarket which allows the counter to detect the product code and its price. Similarly, the variation in genetic elements of the algae allows the machine to detect its species based on the storage information recorded in traditional as well as advanced manner. Although, the system of sequencing technology requires significant refinements and common decisions by global nations to decide on systematic nomenclature.
But it will be cool to have commerical and user friendly names for the products obtained from microalgae. Isn’t ? 😉