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ALGAE. Algae are emerging to be one of the most promising long-term, sustainable sources of biomass and oils for fuel, food, and bio-fertilizer . What makes them so attractive are the large number and wide variety of benefits associated with how and where they grow.

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  1. ALGAE Algae are emerging to be one of the most promising long-term, sustainable sources of biomass and oils for fuel, food, and bio-fertilizer. What makes them so attractive are the large number and wide variety of benefits associated with how and where they grow. Nearly all these benefits stem from the fact that these plants have evolved over billions of years to produce and store energy in the form of oil, and they do this more efficiently than any other known natural or engineered process. Algae grow quickly and can double their numbers every few hours, can be harvested daily, and have the potential to produce a volume of biomass many times greater than that of our most productive crops. Algae are both autotrophic (grown using sunlight) and heterotrophic (grown without sunlight). Algae consumes carbon dioxide (CO2) like any other plant releasing oxygen (O2) into the atmosphere.

  2. How Do Algae Reproduce? Single-celled algae typically reproduce asexually by fission or division of a cell into two or more new cells. Some single-celled algae reproduce sexually, through either the fusion of two cells or the exchange of genetic material between cells. Most multi-celled algae reproduce by a process called alternation of generations, in which one generation reproduces asexually and the next sexually. In one generation, a cell called a spore develops directly into a new organism.

  3. Benefits of Algae in Agriculture Algae is a promising new source of sustainable agriculture and improves plant growth in several ways. It helps break up clay and compacted soils, assists in transferring micronutrients from the soil to the plant, enhances water retention, increases seed germination rates, penetration, and stimulates development of microflora populations in soils. Algae essentially helps move micronutrients from soil to plant. Its benefits have been proven both experimentally and in the field.

  4. Clay Disaggregation Clay particles normally lay together flat, but are repelled by the negative charges across their face. Salt (Na+) is present in minor amounts. Soils with high clay content can become so dense and compact that they may resist plant rooting. This may happen due to clay compaction or salt overload. First, when the percentage of clay in the soil is very high, and especially when an excessive amount of salt is present, the positive charge on the edge of a clay particle combines with the negative charge on the flat surface of another, forming a tight three dimensional structure as shown.

  5. Clay Disaggregation Secondly, salt in the soil can neutralized the negative electrical charges which normally cause clay particles to repel each other. This salt overload causes clay platelets to attract each other resulting in soil collapse as shown. This is a condition seen in irrigated regions world wide, where soil salinity is a growing problem.

  6. Increased Water Penetration Algae cells cause the clay particles to stand on end, allowing water penetration. It accomplishes this in two ways: First, it segregates salts and removes them from the surface of the clay particle. The net negative charge resulting causes the clay particles to repel each other, loosening the soil structure. Second, carbonic acid (H2CO3) molecules bond with the edge of the positively charged particles and breaks the attractive force between the positive charge at the edge of a particle and the negative charge or the flat surface of another. This action, called protective colloidal action, loosens soil, letting roots penetrate more easily.

  7. Water Sequestration Algae holds cations in a way they can be more easily absorbed by a plant's root, improving micronutrient transference to the plant's circulation system. Decayed algae slows water evaporation from soils. This is especially important in soils where clay is not present or in a low concentration, in arid areas, and in sandy soils without the capability to hold water. In the presence of water, cations absorbed by algae partially ionize and move a short distance away. This restores part of the bonded ion's positive attractive force.

  8. Reduced Water Evaporation Since water is a dipolar molecule and electrically neutral, and the algae electrically negative, the end of the molecule containing the oxygen atom loosely bonds to the ion. The hydrogen or negative end of the water molecule is partially neutralized, and as a result, increases the hydrogen end's positive attracting force. The oxygen (or negative) end of another water molecule bonds with the hydrogen end and this continues until the attractive force of the water molecule is dissipated. Evaporation is minimized. The oxygen end of another water molecule bonds with the hydrogen end of another, until the evaporation rate is reduced by 20%

  9. Atmospheric Nitrogen Fixers Algae are a photosynthetic nitrogen fixing group that survives in wide variety of habitat, soil and water. They fix atmospheric nitrogen in aerobic condition by heterocyst, specialized cell, and in anaerobic condition. This fixed nitrogen can be absorbed by plants and converted to protein and nucleic acids. Each individual cell of algae typically has a thick, gelatinous cell wall.

  10. Fertilizer Chelation Algae have the ability to chelate fertilizer components and increases their release to plants in an organic form. If you make judicious use of algae and fertilizer, you will improve the performance of marginally fertile soils, of soils with low native organic matter, and of crops grown in arid regions.

  11. Microorganism Stimulation Algae completes their life cycle and becomes a source of phosphate and carbon, stimulating microflora populations. It also provide sites for microflora to colonize. The bacteria secrete enzymes which act as catalysts, liberating calcium and phosphorous from insoluble calcium phosphate, and iron and phosphorous from insoluble iron phosphate.

  12. Cleaner Irrigation Tape System The drip irrigation system is a lifeline for high value horticulture/agriculture crops. However for the success of drip irrigation systems proper maintenance is required. To keep irrigation tape systems clean, treatment with acid is needed to dissolve precipitates of lime (calcium carbonate) and calcium residue from fertilizer applied under high pH conditions in the irrigation system. Once algae are injected into the irrigation system, it starts releasing carbon dioxide (CO2). The carbon dioxide and water combine to form Carbonic Acid (H2CO3). This mild acid dissolves built up lime and calcium residue. Reviving a plugged drip tape will improve germination, maintaining a homogenous wet pattern for distributing fertilizer and pesticides.

  13. Lets Call Algae by a Different Name Bio-Fertilizer Bio-fertilizer is a substance which contains living microorganisms which, when applied to seed, plant surfaces, or soil, colonizes the rhizosphere or the interior of the plant and promotes growth by increasing the supply or availability of primary nutrients to plants. Bio-fertilizers add nutrients through the natural processes of nitrogen fixation, solubilizing phosphorus, and stimulating plant growth through the synthesis of growth-promoting substances. Bio-fertilizers can be expected to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers. The microorganisms (algae and bacteria) in bio-fertilizers restore the soil's natural nutrient cycle and build soil organic matter. Through the use of bio-fertilizers, healthy plants can be grown, while enhancing the sustainability and the health of the soil. Therefore, they are extremely advantageous in enriching soil fertility and fulfilling plant nutrient requirements by supplying the organic nutrients through microorganism and their byproducts. Hence, bio-fertilizers do not contain any chemicals which are harmful to the living soil. Bio-fertilizers provide eco-friendly organic agro-input and are more cost-effective than chemical fertilizers.

  14. Algae use benefits: • Improves soil structure and aeration. • Improves seed germination. • Improves root development by encouraging deeper penetration. • Improves water penetration and utilization. • Improves fertilizer uptake by chelation. • Stimulates beneficial microorganisms. • Is an organic Bio-Fertilizer. • Provides salt buffering. • Increases soil fertility by releasing nutrients locked in the soil. • Reduces tillage cost by softening the soil. • Provides water lateral movement. • Cleans drip irrigation tape.

  15. Peoria Office 7558 West Thunderbird Rd Suite 1-183 Peoria, Arizona 85381 Phone 602 909 5020 dlc@naturalagsolutionssw.com www.naturalagsolutionssw.com Prescott Office 1042 Willow Creek Rd Suite A101-436 Prescott, Arizona 83301 Phone 928 925 8506 abattista@naturalagsolutionssw.com www.naturalagsolutionssw.com

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