Q: What does microTERRA do?
A: We take fish farm wastewater and give it to our microalgae. They clean the water so it can be reused. This also helps stop downstream pollution. That can destroy ecosystems.
Our company uses special microalgae. Through photosynthesis, they produce protein. We process the protein from the microalgae into food for the fish.
Q: How do you grow the microalgae?
A: We start in the lab on a small scale. We know what the microalgae like. We know what they need to grow. And we know where they thrive in general. But, we have to scale up because agriculture is huge.
Q: So, to scale it up, you have to grow massive amounts of microalgae?
A: Yes. We have bioreactors where the microalgae grow. We also built a harvester to collect the biomass. The harvester had to hold large quantities of wastewater. It had to be cheap and easy to manage, too.
Microalgae convert excess nutrients in water into protein. They also release oxygen.
Q: Is it dangerous to work with wastewater?
A: Wastewater is full of harmful bacteria. We use gloves and wear masks and gowns. Everything in the lab has to be disinfected a couple of times.
Flores examines a tank full of wastewater and algae.
A farm creates wastewater.
Wastewater is processed with microalgae.
Clean water and protein are produced.
Protein is made into fish food.
Food is used to feed fish on
Q: Do you have any advice for future environmental
A: I would say to start on small projects. Think of different ways to reduce waste or pollutants. How about a tiny water treatment pond? Every experiment counts! Tell others about what you are doing. Share ideas and solve problems together!