Scientists at the Michigan State University have a new evidence regarding a new biofuel production mechanism that employs two varieties of soil fungi and marine algae. The method has proved to lead to lower costs of harvesting and cultivation while improving productivity, issues that currently mire the biofuel industry, limiting their large-scale adoption.
The species of fungus, Mortierella elongate, and alga, Nannochloropsis oceanica, used by the researchers produce oils that can be harvested in order for use by humans. With the use of these oils, a variety of products can be developed, such as biofuels for powering vehicles or omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy heart.
When placed in the same environs, these two organisms attach to each other and lead to the development of big masses that can be seen by the naked eye. This method of aggregation is known as bio-flocculation. On harvesting together, these high affinity organisms develop more oil as compared to the scenario when they are harvested and cultivated on their own.
Other benefits of this biofuel production mechanism include its sustainable nature as it does not rely on the highly polluting fossil fuels, the method is cheap as the big masses of fungi and algae can be easily captures with the help of tools such as a mesh, and the process is easier to scale as the organisms that are being used are wild strains and are not genetically modified. Using this method, the field of biofuels can gain massive traction as demand has never been an issue, the high cost of production and productivity issues have held back its large-scale applications.