Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Research Grant for Water Projects

Multiple-Use Water Services to Reduce Poverty and Vulnerability to Climate Change
(Source: Mr. Jeffrey Apigian, Winrock International, US)

The John D. Rockefeller 3RD Scholars Program at Winrock International, with support from UNICEF India, invites concepts from mid-career Indian researchers for a two-year research grant on the topic: Multiple-Use Water Services to Reduce Poverty and Vulnerability to Climate Change. The winning team will receive up to US $150,000, as well as technical support and mentoring during the research project.

Planning grant concepts must be written in English and must address the research questions outlined in the request for concepts. Please refer to the planning grant application instructions when preparing your concept. These documents can be found at:

Planning grant concepts should be e-mailed to: Due date to submit planning grant concepts is January 19, 2009.

If you have questions about the application process, please e-mail Deepa Joshi at

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Innovative Economy Contest

I have entered Nualgi in a contest and you can vote for it by clicking on the button above.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Algae discussion forums
This is a forum is for the purpose of algal research collaboration and discussion.
You may post and answer questions, exchange tips, meet other phycologists, etc..
If interested, please visit

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Silica and Diatom Algae

Diatoms silica & industry: harnessing the biological methods of diatoms to make silica could offer a cheaper and less energy-intensive route to make silica. Harvey Black examines the advantages.
Article from: Chemistry and Industry Article date: December 1, 2003
Black, Harvey
* Understanding the way diatoms make silica could benefit industrial process
* In the past four years, two proteins in the manufacture of silica have been isolated
* In diatoms, sugars surrounding proteins key to assembly of silica structures
* Diatom genome project under way in US, sponsored by US Department of Energy
The lowly diatom may be the basis for major advances in manufacturing, These algae, of which there are between 10 000 to 100 000 species, form silica cell walls (frustules) of intricately patterned silica at ambient temperatures.
Silica is an important industrial product used in everyday items from toothpaste, as abrasives, ...

Manganese and Diatom Algae

Ruth Patrick, Bowman Crum, and John Coles

Diatoms are usually the major component of the algal flora in many streams, although green and blue-green algae may be present. These experiments were designed to determine if high temperature or a shift in the chemical composition of the water might bring about a dominance of blue-green algae and/or green algae rather than a dominance of diatoms in the algal flora.

The results of these experiments indicate that an average temperature of 34° to 38°C results in a shift of dominance in the algal flora from diatoms to blue-green algae. Furthermore, a blue-green and green algal flora of species typically found in organically polluted water in favored if the manganese content is a few parts per billion. If the manganese content averaged 0.02-0.043 mg/liter in the natural stream to 0.04-0.28 mg/liter in the recycled water experiment, a diatom flora remained dominant.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Use of Algae in Wastewater Treatment

Another technology that uses Green Algae in Wastewater Treatment.

Product Development History. In 1995 Mr. Christopher Limcaco, began development of the algaewheel® technology because of his passion for aquatic life. His mission was to develop a filtration system that would allow him to completely recreate a natural environment within his aquarium. The system that was developed proved tremendously effective in achieving a naturally balanced eco-environment and the aquatic life within the aquarium thrived. Mr. Limcaco patented the technology and developed the manufacturing and shipping processes for the commercial distribution of algaewheel treatment systems through a company called Aquatic Engineers, Inc. In 2003 this technology was licensed to a firm now known as Aquariums By Design, and this company continues to provide service for hobby applications in the marine and tropical fish industry.

How it WorksThe technology was initially developed for use as an aquatic life support system in mariculture and aquaculture systems. The advantage of the algaewheel is in its name; it provides the proper environment for algal growth. Wave surging and light pulsing are basic environmental conditions required for algae growth and these are provided through the patented design. The wheel is designed to be significantly buoyant in water, requires no mechanical drive mechanism, and is rotated using a constant air flow. Each wheel is supported in water using a modular plastic grid system. The wheel and all components are made of UV stabilized reprocessed plastics, are lightweight, modular, easily assembled in the field, and corrosion proof.


Why use Green Algae when Diatoms can do a better job?

Symbiotic algal bacterial wastewater treatment

Interesting study of use of Alage in Wastewater Treatment.
Water Science & Technology Vol 55 No 11 pp 165–171 © IWA Publishing 2007 doi:10.2166/wst.2007.351

Symbiotic algal bacterial wastewater treatment: effect of food to microorganism ratio and hydraulic retention time on the process performance
M. Medina and U. NeisInstitute of Wastewater Management and Water Protection, University of Technology Hamburg Harburg, FSP 1-02, D-21071 , Hamburg, Germany (E-mail:
Algal incorporation into the biomass is important in an innovative wastewater treatment that exploits the symbiosis between bacterial activated sludge and microalgae (Chlorella vulgaris sp. Hamburg). It allows a good and easy algae separation by means of clarification. The effect of process parameters food to microorganisms ratio (F/M) and hydraulic retention time (HRT) on the process performance, evaluated by settleability, microalgae incorporation to biomass and nutrient removal, was studied. HRT hinted at a significant influence in the growth rate of algae, while F/M turned out to be important for stability when algae are incorporated into the biomass. This parameter also affects the total nitrogen removal of the treatment. Stable flocs with incorporated algae and supernatants with low free swimming algae concentrations were obtained at high HRT and low F/M values.
Keywords: Chlorella vulgaris; F/M (food to microorganism) ratio; hydraulic retention time; symbiotic algal bacterial wastewater treatment; symbiotic biomass

Thursday, November 27, 2008

India - Green Idea Partner

Declare India as the Green Idea Lab Partner
The U.S. can profit a lot by tapping on the innovation potential of the Indians. India is emerging as an ideas hub. India must not remain as the low cost outsourcing destination of the world. Instead, making it the green idea lab partner will establish a platform to share alternate technology solutions to combat global warming.
- Krish Murali Eswar (Green Ideas Facilitator), Bangalore, India Nov 26 @ 09:55AM PST

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Plankton News

Plankton Bloom Surrounds Chatham Islands

Plankton Found in 100-Million-Year-Old Amber
Scientists have discovered for the first time a menagerie of perfectly intact marine microorganisms trapped in tree resin at least 100 million years ago, according to a new study.

Tiny Plankton Contribute to Continental Crackups
The skeletons of microscopic plankton that flourished billions of years ago may be tearing continents apart, according to a researcher who thinks that rocks built from plankton skeletons – known as black shale – form huge weak areas in Earth's crust.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sanitation and Corporate Social Responsibility
Home / CSR

HNB launches safe drinking water and sanitation programme in Mannar
With latest research highlighting bowel diseases as one of the most critical health issues in the ountry, HNB embarked on an ambitious safe drinking water and sanitation programme that saw its very first project being completed in Mannar. The village of Siruthopu in Mannar recently received access to a proper source of safe-drinking water when HNB stepped in, distinguishing themselves yet again as a bank whose interests go beyond business. A well was built and a tank set up along with six taps in a central area of the village, providing the much-needed solution to dire water and sanitation problems faced by the people in the village.
The people of Siruthopu had next to nothing to come back to, but received a somewhat solace when a NGO pitched in to build houses for them. Safe drinking water and sanitation however remained a burning problem as their only source of water came from a bowser that found its way to the town daily to fill a single plastic tank out of which over 75 families received water. That water too was not safe for drinking and was the cause of many cases of bowel and other diseases, and sickness became an everyday experience for the people of this area.
The plight of the people living in Siruthopu was brought to the Bank’s notice by HNB’s Mannar Branch Manager and steps were immediately taken to determine what the Bank could do for the people. The 15th of November saw the grateful locality of over 75 families receiving a steady mode of clean water that would be sufficient for all. “Water and sanitation is as important as a roof over your head, maybe more so. The project in Mannar is the first of a series of similar projects that will be instigated in various needy areas of the country,” said Mr. Rajendra Theagarajah, Managing Director Hatton National Bank.
Similar projects to provide safe drinking water and sanitation will be taken up in Anuradhapura, Puttalam Chunnakam and Kataragama in the immediate future. This project was initiated with the guidance of Mr. J. R. P. M. Paiva- Deputy General Manager – HR & Administration who is heading the CSR initiatives of the bank. Providing safe drinking water and sanitation is a key millennium goal identified by the United Nations Organization.

Extract from Ashok Leyland Ltd CSR Report 2005 – 06

• During the heavy downpours in end-2005, the ponds filled up and overflowed. After the rains, the living organisms in the ponds, including the fish, were found to be dying in large numbers.
Extensive analysis of the reasons was carried out in coordination with a few Governmental agencies. The root cause was found to be an increase in the ‘Biological Oxygen’ demand due to sudden changes in atmospheric conditions accompanying the downpours - a serious threat to the living organisms in the water.
• As a solution, a chemical called Nualgi was used to increase the Oxygen content in the water and the problem was solved.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Australian initiatives in biofuels.

Australian initiatives in biofuels.

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)
Chief Investigators:
Mr Martin Thomas and Dr John Wright

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama's Environment policy

Obama : Water issues seen as likely priorities

Greenwire -- US EPA’s efforts to improve water-treatment infrastructure, regulate emerging contaminants and protect wetlands are likely to grow in an Obama administration that has vowed to make climate change a top priority.EPA’s outgoing water administrator, Benjamin Grumbles, predicted that mitigating climate change’s impact on water supplies will be a priority for the Obama administration. “Water is at the heart of the climate change debate,” Grumbles said in an interview. “It is a core part of both the cause and the effects of climate change.”President-elect Barack Obama promised during the campaign to increase federal funding for water-treatment facilities and support initiatives aimed at reducing stormwater runoff. And prospects for a greater federal investment in water infrastructure have risen with concerns about the nation’s flagging economy. Democrats have called for using water projects and other infrastructure work as an economic stimulus.The Bush White House recently threatened to veto House plans for an economic recovery package funding infrastructure projects, potentially punting the issue to Obama and the 111th Congress. Obama said last week that passage of a $60 billion to $100 billion economic stimulus package would be a top priority following his inauguration if President Bush and lawmakers do not come to an agreement in the lame-duck session (E&ENews PM, Nov. 7).Federal funding for infrastructure has declined 70 percent over the last two decades, leaving much of the nation’s water and transportation infrastructure in desperate need of cash for maintenance, water-industry representatives say.“We hope that the package will contain upwards of $10 billion for wastewater infrastructure,” said Susan Bruninga, spokeswoman for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. “These are critical needs our communities have waiting. We’re ready to stick the shovels in the ground. These are projects that are necessary for environmental protection and public health.”

Cost of Nitrogen and Phosphorous pollution

Phosphorous Pollution Costs US $4.3B Annually

MANHATTAN, KS -- Pollution by phosphorous and nitrogen isn't just bad for lakes, streams and other bodies of fresh water. According to researchers at Kansas State University, it's also bad for Americans' pocketbooks.Freshwater pollution impacts individuals on a level as basic as how much they spend on bottled water, said Walter Dodds, professor of biology at K-State. If you worry about what's in the tap water, you might be shelling out more money for the bottled variety, he said.If your municipal water plant has to spend more money to treat the water coming through your tap, your water bills will increase. If you own a house on a lake that is becoming increasingly polluted, your property values likely may drop. If that lake is a recreation destination, your local economy could take a hit, too."Monetary damages put environmental problems in terms that make policymakers and the public take notice," Dodds said.He and the K-State researchers looked at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data on nitrogen and phosphorous levels in bodies of water throughout the country. Nitrogen and phosphorous are nutrients that are applied to plants as nutrients.Dodds said that the majority of this type of pollution is from nonpoint sources --that is it's not flowing into a lake or stream like sewage outflow coming from one pipe. Rather, the nitrogen and phosphorous are reaching the water from various points, such as, for example, runoff from row crop agriculture across the surrounding countryside.The researchers calculated the money lost from that pollution by looking at factors like decreasing lakefront property values, the cost of treating drinking water and the revenue lost when fewer people take part in recreational activities like fishing or boating.The researchers found that freshwater pollution by phosphorous and nitrogen costs government agencies, drinking water facilities and individual Americans at least $4.3 billion annually. Of that, they calculated that $44 million a year is spent just protecting aquatic species from nutrient pollution."We are providing underestimates," Dodds said. "Although our accounting of the degree of nutrient pollution in the nation is fairly accurate, the true costs of pollution are probably much greater than $4.3 billion."Dodds said he anticipates the research being used by policymakers because it documents the extent of the nutrient pollution problem in the United States and one facet of why it matters."Putting environmental problems in terms of dollars allows people to account for the actual costs of pollution," Dodds said.Web site:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Specie of algae

A very interesting post on 'Oil from algae' message board.

Posted by: "Tony Rusi"

Re: [oil_from_algae] A pond cleaning bussiness?
Dr. Kertz says 65,000 species have been identified, and a million are left to be identified. That is an estimate of over 60%. My friend Randy Smith told me that you need a 400x microscope to look at these things. Does anyone know of an online database of algae species?

But this begs the question, what species has that lofty 70% oil composition? And what group of species is Dr. Kertz using, and in what percentages? And what is his water to algae ratio? The recent photos look like they have a much lower algae density than the pictures from two years ago. Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it; once realized, it becomes commonplace. ~Robert Hutchings GoddardThe greatest obstacle to progress in science is the illusion of knowledge, the illusion that we know what's going on when we really don't. ~Prof. Mike Disney

Saturday, November 15, 2008

List of Biodiesel from Algae companies

Greenfuels -

XL Renewables -

Solazyme -

Solix -

A2BE -

Algal Pyramid -

Algenol Biofuels -

Aquaflow Bionomics -

Aurora BioFuels -


Algal Fuels aka Bio King -

Varicon Aqua – greenhouse variant -

Canadian Pacific Algae -

Diversified Energy Corporation - -

Genifuel -

Global Green Solutions Inc -

Green Star Products -

Bioprodukte-Steinberg -

Infinia BioDiesel -

International Energy Inc. -
Inventure Chemicals -

Bodega Algae LLC -

Live Fuels Inc. -

MBD BioDiesel -

Petro Sun Inc. -

Philadelphia Renewable Energy - Sapphire Energy -

SeamBiotic -

Sunrise Ridge Algae -

Sunx Energy Algae Oil Research Lab -

T-CO Alternative Fuels, LLC. -

Algepower Algae -

Biomaxx Systems Inc -

PetroAlgae -

List compiled by

Clint LeRoy

Sustainable Energy Consultant

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nualgi - Green Algae for Biodiesel Day 5

Day 5 both tanks are now equally green with algae.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nualgi - Green Algae for Biodiesel Day 4

Yesterday I added 5 ml of Nualgi in the tank on the left and today its also as green as the tank on the right.
Pl see yesterday's photo in the post below.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nualgi - Green Algae for Biodiesel Day 3

I have used Nualgi to grow Green Algae in a small tank.
The difference in growth rates is quite remarkable. Please see the photo.
I did not use Nualgi in the tank on the left and there is no growth visible after 3 days. The brown colour is due to the dung used as nutrient source.
The tank on right is very green. Just 10 ml of Nualgi has been used in it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

History of Petroleum

This site has many videos on the history of Petroleum.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Photos of Lake treated with Nualgi

Pure Oxygen bubbles in a lake in Hyderabad - 15 minutes after use of Nualgi.
The bubbles are caused by the oxygen released by Diatom Algae, the bubbles are visible in extremely polluted lakes due to the sudden bloom of diatoms which starts within minutes of use of Nualgi.

More bubbles 2 hours after usig Nualgi

Even more bubbls of Oxygen - this continues for upto 10 days.

We have estimated that 1 kg of Nualgi results in absorbtion of 137.5 kgs of CO2 and release of 100 kgs of O2.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nualgi - Schematic diagram

Nualgi is a sustainable solution because it sets off a series of sustainable cycles.
CO2 - O2 cycle in water - Anthropogenic CO2, Aquatic Animal CO2 to O2 from Diatoms.
Food - Sewage - Nutrients in water - Fish - Food Cycle.
Biodiesel - CO2 - Diatoms - Biodiesel cycle.
Diatoms to Aerobic Bacteria - CO2 and Nutrients to O2 Cycle

Biotech Century

Biotech Initiatives in US Colleges

The 21st century is being called the Biotechnology Century. Where the 20th century was dominated by the development of technologies based on hard physics and chemistry that brought on the full promise and problems of the industrial revolution, the 21st century promises to be dominated by technological developments based on biology and the molecular operation of living entities. This will allow us to move beyond the crude and wasteful technology of the industrial revolution and replace much of it with elegant and efficient engineered biological technologies. To be sure, high value pharmaceutical and therapeutic applications of biotechnology were important in its early development and continue to be dominant but in the long run they only represent a fraction of the potential of biotechnology. Much recent academic and commercial activity has been applied toward the development of sustainable industrial biotechnology, particularly biofuels to supplement and eventually replace petro-chemical feedstock. Academic and commercial activity in this area will only grow over time and KGI should position itself to play a prominent role in its commercialization. The Sustainable Biotechnology Initiative will be an important first step in obtaining this position.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Study of Algae - Phycology

Phyco: prefix; from the Greek, phukos meaning seaweed, algae; phycology.

Prof Lundquist ppt on Wastewater treatment using Algae

A very interesting paper on use of algae to treat wastewater.
Slide No. 2 and 3 give the total power consumption by Wastewater treatment plants.
The investment required for new plants is estimated at US $ 20 Billion in the next 10 years. (Slide 4).
Slide 8 clearly states 'ENERGY SAVINGS REQUIRED' - this is exactly the problem that Nualgi addresses - reduction in capital cost, reduction in power consumption and even generation of income from wastewater - either food in form of fish or biodiesel.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Micro Algae - a few reports

Some very interesting reports on use of algae to capture and recycle carbon.

Microalgae as a source of liquid fuels. Final technical report USDOE -OER

Design and analysis of microalgal open pond systems for the purpose of producing fuels: A subcontract report USDOE

Systems and economic analysis of microalgae ponds for conversion of CO2 to biomass.

Final report. US DOE

Look Back at the U.S. Department of Energy's Aquatic Species Program: Biodiesel from Algae; Close-Out Report. 325 pp.; NREL Report No. TP-580-24190 available on:

Greenhouse Gas Abatement with Microalgae

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Biofixation using Microalgae

The report below by TNO Built Environment and Geosciences is very interesting and relevant to what we are trying to achieve with Nualgi.
Use it first for Aquaculture, Wastewater treatment and lake remediation and then for biodiesel and reduction of GHGs.

Microalgae biofixation proesses : Applications and Potential Contribution to Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Options.

Executive Summary

This report provides an independent assessment of the applications and potential contributions to greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement of microalgae biofixation processes. It is intended as a strategic tool for R&D personnel and managers, policy makers, and others who need to broadly evaluae the various technology options for GHG abatement, as well as related environmental and sustainability issues. This assessment, carried out on both a regional and global scale, is based on technology plausibly available in the near- to mid-term (2010 to 2020) for practical applications of microalgae in biofuels production. The most plausible immediate applications are in conjunction with advanced wastewater treatment process, for removal and recovery of nitrogen and phosphorous, thus allowing the re-use of these plant nutrients in agriculture. " [emphasis added by me]

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Algae Biodiesel

A few days ago we received confirmation that Nualgi boosts growth of Green Algae too.
We had been using Nualgi for Diatom algae only in the past.

However the new development opens up more vistas for Nualgi - since green algae is a source of biodiesel.

In natural ponds where both Diatoms and Green Algae are present we found that Nualgi causes a bloom of diatoms and not of green algae. But if used in ponds in which only Green Algae are present then even these would bloom.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Algae basics

Extract from
A Look Back at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Aquatic Species Program:
Biodiesel from Algae Biological Concepts
Photosynthetic organisms include plants, algae and some photosynthetic bacteria.
Photosynthesis is the key to making solar energy available in useable forms for all
organic life in our environment. These organisms use energy from the sun to
combine water with carbon dioxide (CO2) to create biomass. While other elements of
the Biofuels Program have focused on terrestrial plants as sources of fuels, ASP was
concerned with photosynthetic organisms that grew in aquatic environments. These
include macroalgae, microalgae and emergents. Macroalgae, more commonly known
as “seaweed,” are fast growing marine and freshwater plants that can grow to
considerable size (up to 60m in length). Emergents are plants that grow partially
submerged in bogs and marshes. Microalgae are, as the name suggests, microscopic
photosynthetic organisms. Like macroalgae, these organisms are found in both
marine and freshwater environments. In the early days of the program, research was
done on all three types of aquatic species. As emphasis switched to production of
natural oils for biodiesel, microalgae became the exclusive focus of the research.
This is because microalgae generally produce more of the right kinds of natural oils
needed for biodiesel (see the discussion of fuel concepts presented later in this
In many ways, the study of microalgae is a relatively limited field of study. Algae
are not nearly as well understood as other organisms that have found a role in today’s
biotechnology industry. This is part of what makes our program so valuable. Much
of the work done over the past two decades represents genuine additions to the
scientific literature. The limited size of the scientific community involved in this
work also makes it more difficult, and sometimes slower, compared to the progress
seen with more conventional organisms. The study of microalgae represents an area
of high risk and high gains.
These photosynthetic organisms are far from monolithic. Biologists have categorized
microalgae in a variety of classes, mainly distinguished by their pigmentation, life
cycle and basic cellular structure. The four most important (at least in terms of
abundance) are:
· The diatoms (Bacillariophyceae). These algae dominate the
phytoplankton of the oceans, but are also found in fresh and
brackish water. Approximately 100,000 species are known to
exist. Diatoms contain polymerized silica (Si) in their cell walls.
All cells store carbon in a variety of forms. Diatoms store
carbon in the form of natural oils or as a polymer of
carbohydrates known as chyrsolaminarin.
· The green algae (Chlorophyceae). These are also quite
abundant, especially in freshwater. (Anyone who owns a
swimming pool is more than familiar with this class of algae).
They can occur as single cells or as colonies. Green algae are the
evolutionary progenitors of modern plants. The main storage
compound for green algae is starch, though oils can be produced
under certain conditions.
2 A Look Back at the Aquatic Species Program—Program Summary
· The blue-green algae (Cyanophyceae). Much closer to bacteria
in structure and organization, these algae play an important role
in fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere. There are approximately
2,000 known species found in a variety of habitats.
· The golden algae (Chrysophyceae). This group of algae is
similar to the diatoms. They have more complex pigment
systems, and can appear yellow, brown or orange in color.
Approximately 1,000 species are known to exist, primarily in
freshwater systems. They are similar to diatoms in pigmentation
and biochemical composition. The golden algae produce natural
oils and carbohydrates as storage compounds.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Restoring Plankton

Use of Plankton to toxic pollutants in waer.

Glen Hemerick
"Restoring Plankton"
Mr. Hemerick has won local recognition and financial backing for an experiment his is conducting on whether or not local populations of saltwater plankton can be manipulated artificially. His project has also drawn praise for involving local high school science students.
His project involves collecting and cultivating saltwater plankton in a laboratory environment. They are grown and released into Puget Sound, or into streams which flow into lakes, which have a history of toxic, or other undesirable plankton, with the hope that the former may compete with the latter.
Glen Hemerick is an amateur scientist and volunteer with the Clover Park High School Science Club in Tacoma, WA.

Diatoms For Nanofabrication

A very interesting article on other uses of Diatoms.

22 January 2008Tweaking Diatoms For Nanofabrication Dutiesby Kate Melville
Diatoms, tiny phytoplankton that encase themselves in intricately patterned shells, could represent the next big breakthrough in computer chip fabrication, say scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Diatoms build their hard cell walls by laying down submicron-sized lines of silica, a compound related to the key material of the semiconductor industry — silicon. "If we can genetically control that process, we would have a whole new way of performing the nanofabrication used to make computer chips," says Michael Sussman, a University of Wisconsin-Madison biochemistry professor.
Reporting their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team led by Sussman and diatom expert Virginia Armbrust of the University of Washington have identified a set of 75 genes specifically involved in silica bioprocessing in the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana. Armbrust, an oceanography professor who studies the ecological role of diatoms, headed up the effort to sequence the genome of T. pseudonana in 2004.
The new data will enable Sussman to start manipulating the genes responsible for silica production and potentially harness them to produce lines on computer chips. This could vastly increase chip speed as diatoms are capable of producing lines much smaller than current technology allows.
"The semiconductor industry has been able to double the density of transistors on computer chips every few years. They've been doing that using photolithographic techniques for the past 30 years," explained Sussman. "But they are actually hitting a wall now because they're getting down to the resolution of visible light."
To determine which genes are involved in creating the distinctive patterns in diatoms, the research team used a DNA chip developed by Sussman, UW-Madison electrical engineer Franco Cerrina and UW-Madison geneticist Fred Blattner. The chip allows scientists to see which genes are involved in a given cellular process. In this case, the chip identified genes that responded when diatoms were grown in low levels of silicic acid, the raw material they use to make silica.
Of the 30 genes that increased their expression the most during silicic acid starvation, 25 are completely new, displaying no similarities to known genes. "Now we know which of the organism's 13,000 genes are most likely to be involved in silica bioprocessing. Now we can zero in on those top 30 genes and start genetically manipulating them and see what happens," said Sussman.

Biological Aeration

Nualgi - Biological Aeration

Aeration is one of the most critical and expensive processes in Wastewater Treatment. Sewage Treatment Plants and Effluent Treatment Plants that use aerobic process have to provide the oxygen required by the aerobic bacteria to enable them to breakdown the organic matter in sewage.

Aeration is conventionally done using mechanical electric powered aerators. The power consumption by the aerators is very high and accounts for upto 50% of the operating cost of the STP / ETP. In addition it leads to emission of CO2 at the power generation plants.

Diatom Algae are a specie of beneficial algae (unlike Green Algae and Blue Green Algae) that can grow rapidly and these are microscopic aquatic plants that release oxygen during photosynthesis.

These however require iron, silica and other minerals to grow rapidly. Nualgi is a plant nutrient that provides all the nutrients required by diatoms and this results in a rapid bloom of diatoms within minutes of dissolving Nualgi in the water body.

1 kg of Nualgi results in release of about 100 kgs of oxygen over 5 days, this increases the DO level of the water to about 6 mg / litre. Regular use of Nualgi will maintain the DO level.

The aerobic bacteria breakdown the organic matter into base constituents and this becomes food for the diatoms. Thus diatoms and aerobic bacteria have a symbiotic relationship – Diatoms provide the oxygen required by bacteria and the bacteria provide the food required by the diatoms.

The cost of 1 kg of Nualgi is just Rs. 275/- and this treats about 4 million litres of water, thus cost of aeration is just Rs. 0.07 per kilo litre.

Use of electric powered aerators also results in emission of Carbon dioxide by the power plants. Whereas use of biological aeration results in absorption of Carbon dioxide by the diatoms.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Sewage treatment

Diatom growth in sewage will increase the dissolved oxygen level.

This is an alternative to the mechanical aeration used in wastewater treatment plants / sewage treatment plants.

Lake restoration

Lakes polluted with sewage and other organic matter can be cleanup.

Diatom growth will increase the dissolved oxygen level and thus enable the aerobic bacteria to thrive and breakdown the organics into base constituents.

Harmful bacteria like Green Algae and Blue Green Algae will die out. Fish population will increase and this further helps keep the lake clean.

Prevent Fish Kills

The most common reason for mass fish kill is the drop in dissolved oxygen level in the waterbody, this can be prevented by use of Nualgi.

If fish kill is a seasonal phenomenon (spring in USA and Monsoon in India) Nualgi can be used during the problematic period.

Prevent Red Tides

Red tides occur in oceans due to bloom of Dinoflagellates.

This can be prevented by increasing the population of diatom algae in the water.

Fish food

Diatoms are at the base of the food chain.

This can be used to increase population of Zooplankton in aquariums, fish farms, lakes and oceans to increase the food availability of food.

Fish Kills

CALL FOR HELP - Fish Kill Spring 2008
Posted On: March 24th, 2008 by fkupdate · Filed Under: Get Involved, Fish Kill
The time is approaching for a ‘typical’ fish kill period, based on the water temperature and time of year when previous fish kills have occurred. Volunteers are needed over the next 3 weeks to help find and count dead fish in the Shenandoah River, and to identify fish species and document any injuries.
The types of injuries that might be found are in the slideshow below, or you can click here to view larger versions of the pictures with captions.
If you are out on the river and you see any sick or dead fish, please note your location and contact Jeff Kelbe, the Shenandoah Riverkeeper, at (540) 837-1479 and Don Kain, Fish Kill Task Force Co-Chair, at (540) 574-7815.
Water and Fish samples are being taken from the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River, as well as the James River, but additional volunteers are needed to complete the surveys. Ted Turner of the Valley Regional DEQ office, says:
“What we are looking for this season are volunteers who would be willing to go out on the rivers after fish kills are reported, to look for dead and dying fish and estimate the extent of the kill. We’d also like some volunteers to go out before and after storms and look for dead and dying fish. From our observations in the past 4 years, this isn’t as easy as it seems. We’d like to get our volunteers together, and do some training for investigating the kills, such as how and where to find the fish, identifying species if possible, marking locations w/ GPS, and collecting water quality measurements (temp, pH, D.O., etc.) where possible.” To read more from Ted Turner, and to read Jeff Kelbe’s commentary on the river’s health throughout the season, visit the Shenandoah Riverkeeper’s Blog.
If you are interested in volunteering to monitor the fish kills this year, please click the “Read More” link below for additional information.
If you are interested in volunteering to help track fish problems this year, you can contact
Don Kain - Virginia DEQ - Fish Kill Task Force Co-Chair
(540) 574-7815
Here is a helpful PDF reporting document that can be used to record fish issues you observe:
Fish Kill Count and Fish Injury Reporting Form
Please mail completed forms to:
Department of Game and Inland FisheriesAttn: Paul BugasP. O. Box 996Verona, VA 24482

Red Tides

Science News
Biologists Find Diatom To Reduce Red Tide's Toxicity
ScienceDaily (Aug. 25, 2008) — It’s estimated that the red tide algae, Karenia brevis, costs approximately $20 million per bloom in economic damage off the coast of Florida alone. Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found that a diatom can reduce the levels of the red tide’s toxicity to animals and that the same diatom can reduce its toxicity to other algae as well.
If scientists can learn to use this process to reduce the toxicity of red tide, they could reduce the vast amount of economic damage done to the seafood and tourism industries.
The research appears as articles in press for the Web sites of the journals Harmful Algae and the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B.
“We found that red tide toxins can be metabolized by other species of phytoplankton. That holds true for both the brevetoxins that damage members of the animal kingdom and the as yet unknown allelopathic toxins that kill other competing species of algae,” said Julia Kubanek, an associate professor with a joint appointment in Georgia Tech’s School of Biology and School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Red tide is a dramatic case of an ecosystem that’s out of control. In normal seawater, K. brevis makes up about 1 percent or less of the species, but during a red tide, that share increases to more than 90 percent. Filter feeders such as oysters, mussels and clams ingest the dinoflagellate and become unsafe to eat. Fish killed by the red tide wash on the shore, which can be contaminated and essentially unusable to tourists for months at a time.
Kubanek and her researchers found in previous work that the growth of the diatom Skeletonema costatum was only moderately suppressed by the brevetoxins released by the red tide. So, they figured that the diatom might have a way to deal with the toxins. According to their study, they were right.
In one experiment, detailed in the journal Harmful Algae, Kubanek’s students grew the red tide algae along with the S. costatum diatom to test her group’s hypothesis and found that the samples with both organisms had a smaller concentration of brevetoxin B than samples without the diatom. They also tested the algae with four different S. costatum diatom strains from around the world and came up with largely the same results. That suggests that evolutionary experience with the red tide algae was not necessary for the diatom to resist the toxins.
In another experiment, covered in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, they found that the red tide algae was able to reduce the growth of the S. costatum diatom, but that exposure of the red tide organism to S. costatum makes the red tide less toxic to microscopic algae. That suggests that the diatom is somehow able to reduce the potency of red tide’s toxins.
“It could be that Skeletonema is degrading Karenia’s allelopathic chemicals just like it degrades brevetoxins. Or, it could be that Skeletonema is stressing Karenia out, making it harder to produce allelopathic chemicals,” said Kubanek.
What they do know is that the brevetoxins that harm oysters and other members of the animal kingdom aren’t the whole story.
“We found that when we took seawater and added purified brevetoxins to it, the live algae didn’t suffer much, so there must be other chemicals released by the red tide that are toxic to these algae,” said Kubanek.
How that’s done, isn’t clear yet, but Kubanek and her group are currently working on finding the answer to that question.
“What we do know is that this diatom, S. costatum, is able to undermine these toxins produced by the red tide, as well as the brevetoxins that are known to kill vertebrate animals like fish and dolphins,” said Kubanek.
If scientists such as Kubanek and her team can learn more about the strategies that microscopic algae use to reduce the toxicity of red tide, they might be able to use that knowledge to help reduce the poisonous effects the tide has on the animal kingdom, not to mention the damage it does to the seafood and tourism industries.
Kubanek’s research team for these studies consisted of Tracey Myers and Emily Prince from Georgia Tech and Jerome Naar of the Center for Marine Science at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Adapted from materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology.

Useful links

Friday, October 3, 2008


Solution to Pollution
Solution to human waste treatment (Water pollution)
Solution to Carbon dioxide emissions and Global Warming (Air pollution)
By product – fish (increase in food availability) and
* * *
Key Words – Phyto-remediation, bio-remediation, wastewater treatment, sewage
treatment, lake remediation, aeration, diatom algae, water pollution, polluted lakes.
* * *

All of us contribute to sewage and pollution.

We generate waste and flush it down the drain and it flows out as sewage.
In Indian cities one person generates about 100 litres of sewage per day.

We burn fossil fuel -
for conveyance – two wheelers, cars, buses, trains and aeroplanes,
LPG for cooking, and
electricity at home and office.
50 litres of petrol releases 150 kgs of carbon dioxide and 1 kWh of electricity from coal fired thermal power plants results in 0.8 kgs (Avg) of carbon dioxide emission.

The Problem:
Disposal of human waste is becoming a great challenge day by day. Rapid urbanization has increased the amount of sewage and higher population density has reduced the space available to set up STPs. Pumping and treatment of sewage is very expensive and lack of adequate sewage treatment facilities is resulting in pollution of lakes and rivers.

Higher CO2 in the atmosphere is leading to global warming.

The Solution :
Now there is a simple and effective solution within the reach of everyone to contribute directly to the cleaning up of sewage and to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere – NUALGI.

You are aware that aforestation leads to cleaner air, similar results can be achieved by growing algae in water. Algae are aquatic plants that also use photosynthesis to absorb CO2 and release oxygen.

Higher oxygen levels in water enable aerobic bacteria to grow and these breakdown organics in sewage into the base constituents, these are consumed by plankton or become harmless sludge.

What is Nualgi?

Nualgi is a plant nutrient in Nano particle size and this is used to grow diatom algae in any water including water polluted with sewage. It has micronutrients (P, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, B, S, Co, Mo, Si) in nano form (20 nano meters to 150 nano meters in size) and these are easily absorbed by the microscopic diatom algae (0.05 to 0.5 mm in size).

Diatom algae are aquatic plants that undergo photosynthesis and absorb carbon and release oxygen and they also consume nutrients like nitrates and phosphates, thus removing them from the water body.

Diatoms have a silica body and are eaten by zooplankton, these are in turn consumed by fishes, higher fish population attracts birds, thus polluted lakes and rivers are restored to their original glory.

Green and Blue Green Algae have a cellulose body and hence cannot be consumed by Zooplankton. Thus when these proliferate in polluted lakes the lakes become green in colour and smell due to the decaying organics and algae.

Nualgi dispersed in water looks like a solution but has very fine particles of the size estimated to be 20 to 150 nanometers. The particles are not visible to the naked eye or under compound microscope.

Nualgi is made by a complex process. The product has been patented, Indian patent no. 209364 dated 27/08/2007. PCT Patent has been also been granted.