Process

TANS testing cyanobacteria biofertilizer for developing countries

September 26, 2013
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Solomon Yigrem, Thin Air field manager in Ethiopia, checks on the cyanobacterial biofertilizer production system. Mixing soil with original cultures and seeding them in shallow ponds produce the blue-green algae biofertilizer.

Solomon Yigrem, Thin Air field manager in Ethiopia, checks on the cyanobacterial biofertilizer production system. Mixing soil with original cultures and seeding them in shallow ponds produce the blue-green algae biofertilizer. Photo by: Endalkachew Wolde-meskel/Thin Air Nitrogen Solutions

Eliza Villarino writes in devex.com about Jessica Gwyn Davis, a professor of soil and crop sciences at the Colorado State University, who co-founded Thin Air Nitrogen Solutions (TANS) in 2008 to develop cyanobacteria-based fertilizer as an economic alternative for the developing world.

TANS is currently testing their cyanobacteria cultivation technology in Ethiopia, using soil containing original cultures and seeding them in shallow ponds. Since the Ethiopian government ended its fertilizer subsidy program in the late 1990s, fertilizer use has declined, and even the less expensive urea fertilizer has become too expensive for many smallholder farmers, the vast majority of whom survive on less than $2 daily. Without returning nutrients to the soil after long periods of farming, soil fertility declines, leading to lower crop yields and lower income for farmers with an increase in malnutrition.

According to Davis, when asked how much they were willing to pay for cyanobacteria-based fertilizer of the same weight as urea fertilizer, farmers quoted 200 Ethiopian birrs and said they were willing to pay more per kilogram of nitrogen of the biofertilizer “because they recognize the value of the organic matter in reversing soil degradation and improving soil fertility.”

Based on tests on maize, kale, pepper, lettuce and tomato, TANS found that yields from those receiving cyanobacterial biofertilizer are at par or exceeded outcomes from urea application and double those with zero fertilizer use. There was also an increase in micronutrient concentrations found in plants’ edible portions, such as zinc (more than double), iron (50 percent increase), and beta-carotene (at least twice the amount), as compared to urea-applied and control crops.

Thin Air Nitrogen Solutions hopes to begin producing and testing cyanobacterial biofertilizer in southern Ethiopia in 2014, engaging women smallholder farmers as producers so that they can enhance their incomes and status in the communities. It will also measure impacts on income, food security and gender equity.

Currently, TANS is working off a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Development Innovation Ventures to test the technology, and the group hopes to win another grant from DIV to build on its trials. It has also received backing from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Association.

Davis said she and her colleagues are interested in collaborating with private companies, nonprofits and government agencies “with goals similar to ours.”

Read More

More Like This…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2013 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Researchers at the Paul Scherer Institute (PSI) in Wädenswil, Switzerland, have succeeded in producing energy-rich gas from microalgae, and in doing so have demonstrated ...
Analia Murias 
reports for fis.com that Chilean exports of products made from macroalgae generated a total of $195 million US in the first seven months of 2014, according...
James “Jamie” Levine took over the reigns at Sapphire Energy in July of this year as former President and CEO Cynthia “CJ” Warner stepped down, retaining her role as chai...
Arizona is taking advantage of its open land and ample sunshine to assume a leadership position in the algae biofuel field. The state is home to two national algae testbe...
With their new CO₂ processing-platform called AstaCos, AlgaeBiotech can produce waxy particles of only 50-100 µm in size with a loading of 25% astaxanthin oleoresin. The ...
MicroBio Engineering, Inc., of San Luis Obispo, California, has introduced a full suite of open pond microalgae growth systems designed for quick deployment of research- ...
On September 25, 2014, a photobioreactor for the cultivation of algae was officially unveiled during a seminar at Thomas More University College in Mechelen, Belgium. Und...
Iran-based Qeshm Microalgae Biorefinery Co. (QMAB) has launched a biofuel being marketed as BAYA®, produced from a species of Nannochloropsis (strain 6016) isolated from ...
Most Americans get plenty of protein, primarily from animal products including meat, eggs and milk. But for many, ensuring a healthy protein intake can be challenging. In...
Allan Koay writes in thestar.com about a Universiti Malaya research project paving the way for the commercial production of paper pulp and bioethanol from seaweed. The Al...
Much of the development of the algae industry in 2014 was driven by domestic and international alliances, partnerships, and mergers that brought complementary skills and ...
Green Star Products, Inc. (GSPI) has signed a contract to build a demonstration facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, to produce commercial quality algae. The Hybrid Algae Produ...
Researchers Greg O’Neil of Western Washington University and Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), have exploited an unusual and untapped class of c...
Developing renewable fuel from wet algae is one of the latest innovations Richland, Washington-based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has successfully driven ...
A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Biomass Energy Technologies Office (BETO) project, awarded to Cal Poly (California Polytechnic State University) in collaboration with M...