Mardi Gras Beads from Microalgae

Seagriculture EU 2024

Part of the fun at the Mardi Gras parade involves throwing and catching plastic beads, which later results in a massive cleaning effort and the disposal of way too much plastic. Is that about to change?

Five hundred strands of biodegradable Mardi Gras beads — formulated at Louisiana State University (LSU) — were handed out along parade routes in New Orleans this year as concern over the tens of thousands of pounds of discarded plastic beads and their impact on the environment grows.

Mardi Gras algae beads

Each LSU biodegradable Mardi Gras bead has a protruding letter that together reads: “MADE WITH ALGAE LSU. Photo: Katherine Seghers, LSU

LSU Department of Biological Sciences Professor Naohiro Kato has been concerned about the problem the excess plastic from Mardi Gras poses for the environment for years; and as a biologist, he is creating solutions. “I am a big supporter of more sustainable Mardi Gras celebrations,” Dr. Kato said. “We can still celebrate, but we don’t need to throw plastic materials.”

Dr. Kato and his LSU students have developed a process to produce biodegradable plastic. He and his students grow microscopic algae, harvest it and process it into a powder that can be used to create multiple products including biodegradable Mardi Gras beads. After the fun is had, these celebratory throws are expected to biodegrade in soil in about one to two years. The biodegradable beaded necklaces were thrown in New Orleans by the Krewe of Freret’s float 1 on Feb. 19 and Krewe of Tucks’s float 19 A on Feb. 26.

All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint articles in their entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact david@algaeplanet.com. Algae Planet accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

Seagriculture USA 2024
AlgaeMetrics
Contact Phil Ganz

Subscribe

Breaking-News

  • June 14, 2024: Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed microscopic robots, known as microrobots, capable of swimming through the lungs to deliver cancer-fighting medication directly to metastatic tumors. This approach has shown promise in mice, where it inhibited the growth and spread of tumors that had metastasized to the lungs, thereby boosting survival rates compared to control treatments. READ MORE...
  • June 12, 2024: The PROTEUS consortium of 11 international partners, funded by the Circular Bio-Based Europe Joint Undertaking, intends to establish the first industrial-scale biorefinery for brown seaweeds. This facility will enhance sustainable production of bio-based ingredients from Laminaria hyperborea, an untapped European renewable resource, meeting global demand in food, feed, personal care, and industrial sectors. READ MORE...
  • June 10, 2024: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher Hans W. Paerl, PhD, will join researchers at the University of Michigan for a $6.5 million, five-year federal grant to host a center for studying links between climate change, harmful algal blooms and human health. READ MORE...
  • June 7, 2024: Three freshwater microalgal species: Chlorella protothecoides, Micractinium sp., and Scenedesmus obliquus were cultured under a static magnetic field and its influence on the accumulation of biomolecules (lipids, proteins, carbohydrates) and biomass production have been evaluated. READ MORE...

Algae Europe 2024

A Beginner’s Guide