Swansea University scientist reveals ‘food of the future’
Dr Carole Llewellyn from Swansea University’s Algal Team has revealed research at the forefront of her field in a BBC documentary which set out to investigate the role of good and bad fats in our diet.
In The Truth About Fat, Dr Llewellyn explained how microscopic algae - the microalgae - can play an important role in providing us with the good fats our bodies need.
The programme showcased the facilities at the Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Research (CSAR) where Dr Llewellyn put the algae under the microscope to reveal how just a teaspoon of seawater can contain thousands of microalgal cells.
However, due to the volumes of seawater that would be needed to obtain a sufficient biomass for extraction, the CSAR Algal team is cultivating the microalgae to high concentrations in large fence bioreactors called photobioreactors.
Dr Carole Llewellyn said:
“Our research focuses on microalgae so tiny we can’t see them with the naked eye. These microalgae are microscopic living cells that can contain high levels of omega oils, the benefits of which have been well documented.”
Under controlled conditions of light and nutrients, the algae grow to high concentrations, making it easier to harness their omega-3 fatty acids.
The resulting dry biomass is actually edible, and very rich in protein, nutrients and omega oil. From this we can produce a pure algal oil. It is a food for the future and is also very sustainable.”