The long winding road to algae’s promised land
August 24, 2016
lgae Industry Magazine contributing editor, emeritus agribusiness professor at Arizona State University, and algae industry icon Mark Edwards is interviewed this month in nutraingredients-usa.com on how and why the algae industry has a history of over promising and under delivering.
Along with some optimistic predictions on how algae-derived foods and ingredients will become pervasive over the next decade, Dr. Edwards also makes several astute observations on why the industry has been slow to get off the ground. Among those:
- Mission drift, as firms started with a focus on the production of one target compound such as oil for energy and then changed to foods, feed, fertilizer, nutraceuticals, cosmeseuticals or medicines.
- Economics, as overly optimistic executives or scientists over promise productivity or yield metrics that are not achievable short term.
- Technical reality, as challenges occurred in species selection, cultivation, harvesting, compound extraction or processing.
- Scale, as the requirements for production size may require scale-up beyond the financial means of many startup organizations.
Despite the challenges, Dr. Edwards says he still firmly believes in algae’s potential. A good read — check it out!