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Small diatoms, big industry, the \

author:管理员 Publication time:2018-09-13 09:16:55 Read: 1254 second

The term “diatom” is relatively unfamiliar to many people. In fact, diatoms exist in different forms in our lives in different forms, but it is hard to detect with the naked eye. When it comes to it, the most common association is diatom mud, but in fact it is very widely used, don't look at it small, but it is a treasure. Below we will specifically talk about the "secret" of diatoms.

Diatoms are one of the most abundant algae on the planet, with more than 100,000 species and about 16,000 common species. It is a type of single-celled plant with a size ranging from 0.6 microns to 10 microns in a variety of forms. The diatom frustule is mainly composed of micro-nanostructured silica, and its purity is above 98%. Diatoms are also one of the most important floating plants. They are widely distributed. As long as there is water, there are generally traces of it. Because of its variety and quantity, it is called the “grassland” in the ocean.
70% of the earth's oxygen is released by phytoplankton, and plankton produces 37 billion tons of oxygen per year, accounting for more than 70% of the Earth's atmospheric oxygen content. The number of diatoms accounts for more than 60% of the number of plankton. It is assumed that there is no diatom on the earth. After three years, the oxygen on the earth will be drained.
In addition to producing oxygen, diatoms are also of high industrial value. The micro-nano biomaterials extracted from diatom shells are characterized by high strength, impact resistance, high temperature resistance, aging resistance, corrosion resistance, sound insulation and heat preservation. They are unique in nature. Highly pure bio-inorganic materials. The diatom shell micro-nano biomaterial is a fine honeycomb pore structure with a high specific surface area.
Beginning in 2007, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology began developing a technology to genetically engineer pseudo-dwarf seaweeds, hoping to create a new silicon structure. By using genetic replication techniques to study the process by which diatoms build complex siliceous cells, the ultimate goal of the researchers is to find a technology for making nanomaterials in the laboratory.
Throughout the entire field, the current closed cultivation of diatoms in China is limited to research and small-scale production, and large-scale industrial production cannot be carried out due to excessive production costs. Tubular reactors are the most common closed diatom culture plants, which are expensive to construct and operate and are difficult to use for large-scale, low value-added farming.
Some companies in Germany use tubular photobioreactors to cultivate chlorella. The annual production of algal flour is 130-150 tons, but it is difficult to maintain due to production cost problems. There are a few types of diatoms that are open cultured in China, such as spirulina, chlorella, and salt algae. They are mainly used for the production of health care products and high-value-added products such as pigment extraction, and cannot be used as industrial raw materials.
There are two main types of photobioreactors currently used for diatom farming: closed and open. The closed photobioreactor mainly has tubular reactor and plate reactor. Its main advantages are not easy to be polluted, easy to control, high density of algae liquid, etc., but its disadvantages are also very significant, for example, it is expensive to operate and requires a lot of cooling. Water, difficult to clean and manage.
The open photobioreactor refers to the open pond culture system, which has the advantages of low operating cost, no need for cooling, and easy management. However, it is susceptible to external biological pollution, unstable production due to weather, and low breeding density.

In order to solve these problems, the chief scientist of the Zhaokai Bioengineering R&D Center, the internationally renowned aquaculture expert, and the academician of the American Academy of Engineering, Academician Wang Zhaokai, has been working on the open-scale cultivation of diatom for many years. Level.

Since the late 1990s, Academician Wang Zhaokai has established a commercial system and successfully operated to cultivate diatom-C. algae in an open system. The diatoms produced are used in the aquafeed industry and were applied in the United States in 2004. Related patents.
On this basis, Academician Wang led the domestic R&D team to develop targeted countermeasures for open-type reactors susceptible to foreign biological pollution, low yield, and unstable production, so that the above problems can be effectively solved and rational design can be utilized. And the self-developed diatom open culture system technology, reducing production and maintenance costs, achieving high-density, continuous production, and solving the technical bottleneck of closed photobioreactors and traditional open bioreactors.
At present, the diatom culture technology of the R&D center is used to culture diatoms. The annual output of diatom culture can reach 120 tons per hectare (dry powder of diatom), while the annual output of crops on land is mostly below 15 tons per hectare.
The daily production of diatoms cultivated by Zhaokai Bioengineering Research and Development Center is affected by sunshine and temperature. The dry algae can produce between 0.1-0.2 grams of dry algae per liter of water, and the highest daily output can reach 0.4 grams per liter. With an effective working day of 300 days per year and a reactor depth of 0.3 meters, 120 tons of dry algae can be produced per hectare per year. Calculated by taking 30% of the oil, it can produce 36,000 liters of bio-oil.
Diatom bio-oils can be used to produce biodiesel, aviation fuel, and the like. Aviation kerosene has strict requirements on calorific value, density and low temperature performance, and argon extracted aviation fuel can replace conventional aviation kerosene. The use of diatom aviation fuel can greatly reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons in the exhaust gas, and the emission of sulfide can be reduced to 1/60 of that of conventional aviation kerosene.
The characteristics of the diatom scale production system of Zhaokai Bioengineering Research and Development Center are:
1. Systematic screening of open diatom species, without the need for traditional diatom species and expanded cultivation.
2. Innovative formula of diatom culture, selective target cultivation of target diatoms.
3. The unique algae control process ensures that the target diatom dominance reaches 96% without the need for pretreatment of the influent water.
4. Effectively control the feeding of plankton. During the breeding process, there is no yield reduction and algal body agglomeration caused by the feeding of enemy organisms.
5. Open culture of diatoms under natural conditions, no need to set up greenhouses, no need to disinfect water bodies, and stable production of diatoms under natural conditions such as high temperature, strong light and rain.
6, low production costs, can provide a large number of low-cost diatom raw materials for deep processing, there is a strong economic competitive advantage.
The diatom open culture technology developed by the R&D center also has great advantages in production cost, and can be extended to many industries that were previously unable to be applied due to cost issues, such as bioenergy, bio-environmental protection, biomedicine, feed additives, food additives, etc. .
The development of diatom breeding and deep processing industry is of great significance, mainly reflected in the following five aspects:
1. The cultivation of diatoms does not compete with the grain. Diatom production can choose land that cannot grow crops such as offshore, tidal flats, swamps and saline-alkali land. The development of diatom breeding industry will not reduce the area planted with grain, and the land will be gradually transformed into fertile land.
2. Diatom farming belongs to the green environmental protection industry. For every ton of diatom produced, it can absorb about 1.6 tons of carbon dioxide and release 1 ton of oxygen.
3, diatom application value is high, can extract natural porous nanomaterials, can also produce antibacterial, anti-tumor drugs, also has great application prospects in feed, chemical and other industries.
4. The diatom production process does not use harmful chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides, and has no adverse environmental impact.
5. Diatoms contain about 1/3 diatom frustules, 1/3 plant protein and 1/3 oil, all of which have high application value, and diatoms are high-quality sources of vegetable protein and oil.
In short, the development and application of diatoms will be an extremely large ecological industrial system. It will not only be a revolution in the field of materials, but also meet the needs of various high, fine and pointed materials in China, and will be in industry, agriculture, and national defense. , medicine, food and energy security have played a huge role.

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