Microalgae as a Feedstock for Biofuel Precursors and Value-Added Products: Green Fuels and Golden Opportunities

Yuting Tang, Julian N. Rosenberg, Pavlo Bohutskyi, Geng Yu, Michael J. Betenbaugh, Fei Wang

Abstract


The prospects of biofuel production from microalgal carbohydrates and lipids coupled with greenhouse gas mitigation due to photosynthetic assimilation of CO2 have ushered in a renewed interest in algal feedstock. Furthermore, microalgae (including cyanobacteria) have become established as commercial sources of value-added biochemicals such as polyunsaturated fatty acids and carotenoid pigments used as antioxidants in nutritional supplements and cosmetics. This article presents a comprehensive synopsis of the metabolic basis for accumulating lipids as well as applicable methods of lipid and cellulose bioconversion and final applications of these natural or refined products from microalgal biomass. For lipids, one-step in situ transesterification offers a new and more accurate approach to quantify oil content. As a complement to microalgal oil fractions, the utilization of cellulosic biomass from microalgae to produce bioethanol by fermentation, biogas by anaerobic digestion, and bio-oil by hydrothermal liquefaction are discussed. Collectively, a compendium of information spanning green renewable fuels and value-added nutritional compounds is provided.

Keywords


Microalgae; Biofuels; Biochemicals; Lipid Profiles; Algal Strain Development

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