Algae – The super plant of the future | DW Documentary


Without algae, there would be no life at sea or on land. But what makes it such a high-flying allrounder? How can it be used in the production of alternative biofuels or even degradable packaging? This opens up the possibility of a world with clean air in urban areas and oceans free of plastic waste. Unimaginable – yet in the process of becoming reality.

Algae are perhaps the most adaptable and productive organisms on Earth. They’re billions of years old and the source of our existence. There are micro and macro algae: microscopically small or more than 60 meters long. They live in seas and fresh water. They grow by means of photosynthesis: they produce oxygen and absorb the CO2 that’s so damaging to the environment. One in every two oxygen molecules in the atmosphere is formed by the plantlike creatures. Researchers estimate the existence of more than 400,000 different species.

Algae are also a key foodstuff. Their capacity to yield oil could make them an alternative to fossil fuels. They could also potentially revolutionize medicine, because they produce a huge variety of unique biologically active substances. Scientists the world over are working on ways to unpack the organisms’ complex agents. And they are making some groundbreaking discoveries in the process.

They’re an important food source, and their ability to provide oil could make them a replacement for fossil fuels. But algae also have the potential to revolutionize medicine, because they produce an enormous variety of unique, biologically active substances. Scientists around the world are making groundbreaking discoveries as they try to understand algae’s as-yet-unknown active ingredients.

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