Murmansk scientists want to use Arctic algae to purify water

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MURMANSK, February 8. /TASS/. Experts at the Kola Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences work on methods of using algae from the Arctic seas for biology purification of water and for pollution control. The Center’s press service told TASS the scientists are also working on ways to use the algae in medicine, nutrition supplements, which could be effective for people living in the Far North.

“Unicellular algae may be used as test biology subjects to evaluate the environment’s pollution and also to purify water biologically,” the press service said.

Certain tests have shown that unicellular algae are practically non-toxic, they gain nutrition components, “and, depending on conditions, they may produce certain active substances,” the Center said, adding the algae are easy to use as they vegetate quickly.

The algae could be used in different spheres – in pharmaceuticals, food industry and even as a source of fuel. In addition to that, the scientists test algae as biology objects to see how polluted the environment is. Another sphere, where the scientists work, is in using the algae for biology purification of water.

Use of algae as components in medicines and nutrition supplements has been studied thoroughly. The Center’s experts want to adapt this experience to the Arctic conditions – for easier adaptation of people coming to the Far North and also to support the Arctic regions’ permanent population. “Clearly, people living in a certain region may be resistant to biology components from plants, which grow in other regions,” the Center’s press service said. “Thus, for the Arctic regions it would be most reasonable to use the local flora, including algae.”

Another direction in studies refers to pharmaceuticals. Algae produce some biologically active antioxidant substance. Presently, Russia has to buy in Europe about 90% of such substances for clinical research and immunology. The Arctic algae may substitute the import to satisfy the local market. It may be used in making vaccines and for virus studies.

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