This week FlowCam Applications Scientist, Kay Johnson, visited the Canary Islands to train a new team of FlowCam users at ITC (Instituto Tecnólogico de Canarias). ITC in Pozo Izquierdo is using a FlowCam 8400 with 488nm laser to monitor marine phytoplankton. The team was originally trained by Nicole Gill when they first purchased the FlowCam in 2019, but this year a new group of scientists from Italy and Serbia have joined their team.
Pictured here (left to right): Kay Johnson, Flavio Guidi, Tonia Principe, Marianna Venuleo, Maca Golezalaz, Zivan Gojkovic
ITC researches a variety of uses for marine algae ranging from biofuel to aquaculture supplements to isolation of extremofiles that can utilize hypersaline wastewater from desalination. The later use is important on Gran Canary because the majority of the freshwater available on the island must go through the desalination process.
From ITC's website:
"We promote blue biotechnology through experimental development and applied research of new technologies for the production and processing of marine microalgae, on a pilot and industrial scale (demonstration projects) with applications in the food, cosmetic, agricultural and environmental industries... All this with the purpose of transferring said knowledge to the Canarian business sector. In this line, we participate in the BIOASIS platform with the purpose of encouraging the blue biotechnology industry, and especially marine plant aquaculture, as an area of specialization for the growth of the Blue Economy."
ITC is a research incubation center for industrial partners and they possess an extensive algae culture collection on plates and in liquid media. They scale up the growth of phytoplankton in large bioreactors and then into open air circulation ponds. These are then concentrated using centrifuges and lyophilizers.