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Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo

Use of sargassum would save costs in pharmaceutical biotechnology for the Spirulina industry, according to INTEC research

Research carried out by Guillermo Contreras and advised by researcher Miguel Ángel Guevara determined that spirulina produced with sargassum-based biofertilizer can be used without risk to human or animal health, since the levels

SANTO DOMINGO. - The use of sargasso, which floods the Caribbean beaches, would save costs to pharmaceutical industry and manufacturers of nutritional supplements derived from microalgaeLike spirulina, according to a degree work of the Degree in biotechnology of Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC).

The study proposes to process the sargasso to use it as organic fertilizer de low cost in the cultivation of the microalgae Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis), whose components are used in supplements to strengthen the immune system, support in the treatment of some types of cancer, cholesterol control, as antioxidants and in conditions such as diabetes or associated with the liver and eyesight, among others.

The world market for products derived from spirulina will reach hundreds of millions of dollars in this decade, according to international firms, so the research identifies a profitable and sustainable solution to the massive accumulations of sargassum on Caribbean beaches and a business opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry in the Dominican Republic, as it is the first time that the possibility of using biofertilizers based on sargassum as a nutrient for the production of spirulina has been verified.

Spirulina cultivation is carried out in fresh water and with expensive nutrients due to the large number of salts used, which must have the minimum of impurities to avoid contamination with toxic substances and metals. This situation has led to the search for alternative sources that include the use of organic fertilizers to achieve high yields at a lower cost.

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Guillermo Contreras

One of the conclusions reached by the research, carried out by Guillermo Contreras and advised by the researcher Miguel Ángel Guevara, was that spirulina produced with sargassum-based biofertilizer can be used without risk to human or animal health, since the levels of heavy metals were below what the standard allows.

The research consisted of cultivating spirulina for 16 days with a biofertilizer based on sargassum biomass at different concentrations (1, 5, 10 and 20%) to later evaluate growth, pigment and protein content. The results obtained showed that growth and chlorophyll content a, carotenoids and phycocyanin were higher when 1% of the sargassum biofertilizer was used; while the total proteins were higher in the crops with 5% of the biofertilizer. In contrast, the cultures made with 10 and 20% of the biofertilizer only survived 72 hours.

Miguel Guevara

Until now, the sargassum that appears on Dominican beaches is treated as waste and hotels allocate considerable resources for its final disposal. When it reaches the shore, this algae rots and emits a stench, attracts insects and turns the famous turquoise waters of the Caribbean brown.

The study “Production of Arthrospira platensis using a biofertilizer made with Sargassum biomass” is available at the Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi library of the university.

 

About the Bachelor of Biotechnology

The Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology, proposed by INTEC, trains young professionals so that they can understand and accompany change, in addition to making invaluable contributions to the new biotechnological scenario in the world and in the Dominican Republic.

This new career, whose program lasts three and a half years, opens opportunities for the generation of innovative and sustainable solutions to the growing needs and problems that affect Dominican society linked to health, food, energy and environmental care. environment and other fields.

Graduates of the bachelor's degree in Biotechnology will be professionals with the appropriate scientific and technological knowledge to work as specialists, managers, advisors, researchers, directors or administrators in institutions, centers or companies linked to the industrial, agricultural, forestry, food, environmental sectors. and pharmacist.

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