Move Aside, Mr. Coffee: Meet the home edible-algae farming appliance
17 Jun, 2022
Excerpt from Reef News
CORAL Magazine, July/August 2022
“We may be reaching Peak Paraphernalia in the kitchen,” said one observer upon learning that German engineers say they are determined to bring us a countertop macroalgae cultivation appliance.
According to Professor Dr. Nina Kloster, who heads the GreenING Lab at Cologne University of Applied Sciences (TH Köln), an interdisciplinary team from the laboratory has a €100,000 ($105,000) budget to create a new type of all-in-one tank system for the small-footprint cultivation of fresh, pollutant-free, edible macroalgae.
The NoriFarm Project envisions a table-top device similar to an enclosed aquarium that permits the urban cultivation of algae, and is also potentially suitable for restaurants or supermarkets. The bioreactor includes a tank of water that approximates wild marine shoreline conditions.
Sensors monitor key properties of the water such as nutrient levels and pH, in order to guarantee the production of safe, high-quality food. An app is planned to facilitate operation, for example by reminding you about cleaning and harvesting.
The best-known edible macroalgae are Nori and Wakame, which are used mainly in Asian cuisine. Kloster says these are well-suited to direct consumption in a clean environment, while tropical macroalgae occurring in the wild can be contaminated with heavy metals and/or pesticides. The project will run until September 2022, and the NoriFarm project says the production of the fully developed device will await an appliance manufacturer deciding to make a commercial model.
Just call it Mr. Nori and clear a spot on the counter.
—Daniel Knop with materials from Sybille Fuhrmann, Technische Hochschule Köln