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Algae por Egaleco & Sano (AfEH – Algae for Equality & Health)

The challenge:
40% of earth surface are drylands and 90% of them are situated in developing nations with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards. By 2025, 1.8 billion people are expected to life under absolute water scarcity, due to the progressing desertification [1]. Thus, the search for sustainable food, feed and energy sources becomes ever more urgent.
The solution:
The development of algatechnology in deserts is one land-based approach to meet these challenges. Microalgae can be grown in closed systems on sea-, brackish- and waste-water to avoid a direct resource competition between conventional agriculture and algatechnology. One success-story is the microalga Arthrospira, cultivated worldwide at industrial- and household-scale for its nutritional biomass and pigment phycocyanin. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) endorses it in developing food security and in emergency response efforts. World Health Organization (WHO) consider it a very suitable food, rich in iron and protein. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognise it as generally safe (GRAS). The United Nations (UN) declared Arthrospira “The Best Food For The Future” [2]. Offering beside the core-products, employment and social dividends of stability and cohesion.

Research Topic:

We will assess the community’s needs and capacities to identify the best-fitted microalga and develop the most-suited cultivation system for local small-scale algatechnology.
  • Establishing and strengthening relations to the community and stakeholders
  • Identifying and organising staffing needs and responsibilities
  • Building and optimizing a pilot microalga-farm
  • Developing a project-and nutrition-related education program
  • Evaluating the social, technical and economical outcomes
  • Establishing commercial microalgal production sustained by the community


ApES Team

Use of minirhizotron in a greenhouse experiment at the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Diana Reinecke

Biotechnologist with 13 years research experience in algal research and production, and a focus on the morphological, physiological, biochemical and molecular mechanisms of algal response to environmental conditions, providing expert knowledge and knowhow in cultivation and high-value compound isolation.
Use of minirhizotron in a greenhouse experiment at the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Isabel Portugal

Isabel is a marine biologist in love with the desert. She has a degree in aquaculture and PhD in biotechnology. Her research focuses on mass production of microalgae and its use as an immunostimulant for fish. This study includes the analysis of the effects of the incorporation of the polyunsaturated fatty acid from the algae in fish tissues and heath related benefits.



  1. World, B.; Food; Agriculture Organization of the United, N.; International Fund for Agricultural, D. Gender in agriculture sourcebook. World Bank: Washington, D.C., 2009; p xxiv, 764 p.


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