Algae seems to be a buzzword these days finding its way in conversations not just about the green stuff found in murky backyard ponds, but as topics of discussion about renewable energy sources, health food supplements, and alternative additives to many food products! If you haven’t heard about algae in this context don’t fret, you’ve come to the right place to learn all there is to know about algae, blue green algae, and all of their many intricacies.
What is Algae?
In the simplest explanation, algae is a very diverse group of organisms that rely on photosynthesis to produce food. There are numerous types of algae; often times these various strains function differently from one another and do not always have the same ancestor. However, one thing that all algae strains have in common is that they are all eukaryotes. Meaning their cell DNA is contained within a membrane-enclosed nucleus. Other eukaryotes include, plants, fungi, and animals.
Algae blooms often occur when a certain species of algae undergo a “population explosion.” The bloom can take place in the body of water where the algae is currently living. Although it has not been scientifically-proven what causes the onset of an algae bloom, hazardous environmental factors like toxic runoff seem to be key contributors. Algae blooms can be extremely detrimental to the surrounding aquatic life. They act as an oxygen drainer, sucking and taking up all the viable O2 that is needed by other organisms to survive.
Green Algae and Other Sub-groups
Green algae is one of the more common strains of algae, getting it name from the green pigment chlorophyll it uses to perform the photosynthesis process. Green algae is extremely resilient and has been found all over the world in various habitats. Cyanobacteria or blue-green algae is an ancient group and is thought to have been the first organism to use photosynthesis. Aphanizomenon flos-aquae is the freshwater species of cyanobacteria and is found exclusively in freshwater. Upper Klamath Lake, in south central Oregon, is the largest known freshwater body where this strain of Blue-Green algae grows. It is here, because of an almost perfect climate, the algae blooms of A. flos-aquae can flourish. Though the biomass collected from these algae blooms can be toxic, in a filtered nontoxic form, it has extremely high nutritional value and has been used for medicinal purposes in certain cultures for thousands of years.
Algae’s Nutritional Value
In its nontoxic form, the health benefits of blue green algae supplements, like HRL’s BioStem, are endless. Supplements like this one are filled with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that have the potential to dramatically boost your immune system, improve your heart and neurological health, and diffuse irritable digestive issues, to name a few. What’s more, because of the high level of quality standards that these supplements are tested at there are very few side-effects.