The search for solution for algal bloom finally ended up with me realizing that all is not bad with algae. Algae are in fact a potential source of proteins when properly extracted.
I was brought up with the primitive knowledge that eating Mediterranean cockles in hot summers leads to food poisoning due to algae. This was attributed to the fact that in hot summers the cockles are contaminated with toxic algae. In fact these cockles eat these algae without a problem and when humans who eat cockles raw along with algae are poisoned by chance, because human liver does not posses the detoxifying mechanism (hence the poisoning).
This were a recurrent problem in UK including Listeria monocytogenes, campylobacter infection which were not properly investigated when I was working in UK.
So my primitive conviction and knowledge of all algae were bad and poisonous.
This was further strengthened by the simple observation that my fish die in hot summers when algal bloom invade the ponds. The death of the fish was not actually due to toxins produced by algae but due to deprivation of oxygen.
Without second thought we associate this to toxins from algae disregarding the water pollution from industrial and agricultural waste.
In actual sense, water plants (including algae) actually mop up most of these pollutants including heavy metals and leave the water relatively free of contaminants for us, the humans to drink. In actual fact, this detoxifying process is designed to free us from poisons. We should better know which to consume by correct scientific investigation than to blame the plant or animal product we eat.
The second point of relevance is the chemicals produced by various plants are called allelochemicals that give relative advantage to some plants while inhibiting algal growth.
The third point we take it for granted is that since we do not have cellulase to digest the plant cell walls the plant material are of no use as food for humans.
This is an exaggeration of biochemical knowledge without scientific reasoning.
This is where the medical and biological myths are propagated to help the meat industry.
The myth originates from the premise;
It is essential and necessary to eat animal meat to survive.
I come to that point later.
Majestic elephants are vegetarians and they consume all their proteins from plants.
How come a man who is comparatively small has to consume large amount of animal protein for survival?
This is where the WHO has committed a global crime of promoting animal food which wastes over 50 to 75% of grain material that could be better used for human consumption.
One has to use at least 6 to 8 Kilo grams to produce 1 Kilo gram of meat.
It is a staggering wastage of grains which can be better processed and packed as the Ceylonese “4G or Samaposha” Brand.
They first started the myth with nominating the egg as a reference protein, since it contains all the essential amino acids. Next logical nexus WHO struck was to equate all staple food including rice as inferior in quality in reference to egg protein and then to destroy the Asian rice cultivation.
I will prove that rice is much superior and non-allergenic to all other staple foods in a minute but bear with me for excesses and the excuses.
At the same time with the American help they started promoting the second myth that wheat as the best alternative to rice since its relative quantity of lysine was higher when compared to rice. Now with the American help Western Food Industry got a kick start diminishing the Asian wisdom to the back garden.
With this deliberate ploy to destroy the Rice Industry and all the rice varieties except Uncles Sam's rice which became a house hold name in America.
IMF made the previous government of Ceylon to experiment bread making with rice flour mixture knowing very well it would be a failure. Wheat flour has the bread making capability because of its gluten content and rice cannot supplement this allergenic food protein.
That is why rice is recommended for infants instead of wheat flour.
There was always a sinister campaign to implicate rice as a poor quality staple food. Say this to Japanese they are the only people in this planet who do not believe American propaganda.
Now it is time for some facts and a bombshell.
This part Nigerian Rice Indutry should read carefully.
African Rice variety has the best Quality Protein comparative to all staple foods including Asian Rice.
Thanks to Japan this information is coming from JICA experts and Japan's Genome Project on rice.
Before I go back to Single Cell Protein from fungi / algae here are some more facts.
It is true that the content of protein is rice 2% less than wheat which is 10%.
African rice the protein content is as high as 15%.
As a reference protein of egg is numbered arbitrarily as 100.
Please note no animal survive only on eggs.
Animals including humans eat a mixture of foods.
When the food is mixed the correct amino acids balance is achieved automatically.
Rice has 65 amino acid reference value which is more than twice as corn.
Wheat has 40 and corn has 30.
The quality is actually better for rice.
When rice is eaten with other grains (mung and dhal) it makes up 100 without the addition of any animal products.
If this is supplemented with milk one gets all the ingredients including calcium without the allergic properties of gluten which causes Coeliac Disease.
If rice meal is supplemented with some ripe banana one gets all what is essential.
If the rice is supplemented with soya one has an excellent combination.
It is necessary to mentioned here that when WHO published the protein (vary with age and pregnancy) requirement some decades ago, they made some serious mistakes of doing the study on carbohydrate deficient diet that over estimated the protein requirement (this is called the specific dynamic action of food- where protein is wasted as energy).
This is another American conspiracy, food in this case.
They had to revise their estimates several times since then and when we were students we were given the wrong information (I of course never believed their estimates) and I never became a beef eater to supplement rice.
How the poor supplemented their diet (as Asians) was to eat more rice (provided the energy which spared -by pass the specific dynamic action-the good quality protein) or several meals of rice which made good the sufficient amino acid including the lysine.
However, supplementing with another grain and plant material was the easiest choice by far.
My point of writing this here is to highlight that we can produce good quality protein from a single plant cell.
Even, though we cannot utilize the cellulose we can very well use the plant protein for food.
In fact these experiments were done by oil companies using cheap oil as a substitute some years ago. But they never took off the commercial scale due to pressure from beef industry and soya industry.
There was enough lobbying to block this Single Cell Protein production on safety grounds and chemical contamination. I do not intent to go into politics in detail but suffice is to say that these Single Cell Protein were never marketed as human food but only as animal food.
My question is, if these proteins (SCP) have safety issues, how come eating the animal meat fed on these proteins becomes safe?
This question can be dispensed easily as puritan in the WHO circles and conferences.
For completeness sake I should mention that SCP protein contain high concentration of nucleic acids. Humans are unable to breakdown nucleic acid bases adenine and guanine beyond the production of uric acid.
Excess uric acid causes gout.
However, pigs posses the enzyme, cattle in their gut flora which convert uric acid to more soluble allantoin.
So argument for animal feed was very plausible for the beef industry. But the excess nucleic acids can be separated (purified) by industrial means.
SCP of course is an industrial product in any case and introducing this step in the purification is a minor matter. That argument does not hold water because of the artificially augmented cost in the analysis (for our consumption) by the industrial experts.
But in the same vein, this argument is a loose currency when producing antibiotics and alcohol from single cells.
It was Pasteur who showed intense aeration of yeast culture stimulated yeast growth and halted alcohol production and it could be extended to Single Cell Protein production which should be investigated with all the available single cells in the tropics (since we have enough sunshine which is wasted even without producing solar energy) including algae.
This is where our biologists should spend time on instead of following only the Western Model.
I should wind up with some ancient history.
Tangled clumps of vegetation (algae) were netted by the ancient Aztecs from Lake Texcoco (Mexico) sun dried and made into biscuits / bread with cheesy flavour.
The single cell plant is Spirulina maxima now used as animal food.
In African Continent Kananbou people extract green algae from Lake Chad and make a biscuit called dihie.
The cell source is Spirulina platensis.
These are the only recorded instances in history.
There must be many more waiting to be investigated in the Tropics.
It is high time we should investigate this with vigour.
Some investment on allelopathy and allelochemicals is welcome when food prices including animal meat is high.
A country claimed to be majority of Buddhist we must go back to our roots and Asian ways.
We cannot expect India and China to do that since they are engulfing fast the Western roots.
In year 2025 the projected population is 8 billion.
The space available for food cultivation is shrinking and microscopic scale is warranted before it is too late.