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GPRC scientists make breakthrough discovery on microalgae production

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A pair of Grande Prairie Regional College scientists have reached a milestone in their research on growing greenhouse gas consuming algae. Dr. Weixing Tan and Dr. Abigail Adebusuyi have been published in a high-ranking scientific journal. Doctor Tan explains the microalgae can capture carbon dioxide and transform it and other pollutants into proteins and carbs 10 to 100 times faster than traditional crops.

“Very, very valuable for cleaning up the air, combating climate change, and to produce valuable products. This may potentially change what we eat, change what we grow, and change what agriculture and the biological production system is.”

The team has discovered a new growth medium to get production higher than reported anywhere else with the use of a photo-reactor. Once grown, the algae is harvested and Dr. Adebusuyi says there’s a significant amount of uses.

“You can use them as fish feed, animal feed. You can extract oil from them and this can be used as bio-foods as well. You can use them to extract antioxidants that are used for humans to protect against cancer.”

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The microalgae can be finicky and picky about the sunlight and nutrients it received. There’s now an international patent on the photo-reactor, which optimizes the use of the sun along with the B-8 growth medium.

An 8-foot prototype is currently housed in the college’s solarium and the next goal is to have a scaled up version of the world-first research by the campus’ greenhouse. They’re already in talks with local industry to go commercial.

The Grande Prairie Regional College team of Kristine Elipse, Aurele Lemay, Dr. Abigail Adebusuyi, Dr. Weixing Tan and Director of GPRC Centre for Research & Innovation Dr. Bruce Rutley.
The Grande Prairie Regional College team of Kristine Elipse, Aurele Lemay, Dr. Abigail Adebusuyi, Dr. Weixing Tan and Director of GPRC Centre for Research & Innovation Dr. Bruce Rutley.
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