As the transition to cleaner energy grows, researchers have been working endless hours to achieve green energy that is economically feasible. Microalgae accepted as a source of cleaner energy and can replace use of cultivated crops as food feedstock. Moreover, microalgae present a promising alternative source for the production of biodiesel, due to a high lipid content in microalgal cells. During the photosynthesis of microalgae, neutral lipids are accumulated as triacylglycerols in microalgal cells, improving lipid content in microalgal cells would lead to a sustainable development of microalgal biodiesel.
To induce microalgal lipid accumulation, it involves application of feasible strategies. Liandong Zhu and colleagues wrote a recent review published in BioMed Research International, aimed to bridge the gap and to systematically concentrate on the main lipid induction strategies that can evidently promote microalgal lipid production.
The authors discussed two types of lipids, neutral lipids that serve as the energy reserves and polar lipids that are constituents of organelles and membranes. To improve the lipid production, external cultivation conditions, such as light intensity, temperature, carbon dioxide, nutrient starvation, salinity stress, and metal stress must be considered.
From the researchers’ observation, positive light intensity increases lipid accumulation functions only up to a limit while extremely high light intensity will cause photoinhibition, damaging the microalgal photosystems, and thus reduce lipid accumulation. The effect of the temperature is said to be same as light intensity in that it varies directly with temperature. The salinity stress created inside the cells results in increment in the lipid content, on the other hand nutrient starvation was found to be feasible and environmentally friendly approach for the control of the cell cycle to enhance lipid productivity.
This paper strategized on promoting microalgae lipid production and the authors identified the application of nutrient starvation as the most efficient strategy to work with and optimum lipid production can be achieved by combining strategies together.
The research undertaken is partially funded by TranAlgae. This is a network of relevant stakeholders within the algae industry in the Botnia-Atlantica region with the aim of implementing innovative solutions for the production of micro- and macroalgae biomass from waste streams at industrial scale. This study is said to provide stakeholders, authorities, and practitioners with the foundation for better understanding microalgal lipid induction strategies and their significances in practice.
L.D. Zhu1,2, Z. H. Li2, and E. Hiltunen1, Strategies for Lipid Production Improvement in Microalgae as a Biodiesel Feedstock, BioMed Research International, Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 8792548, 8 pages.Show Affiliations
- Faculty of Technology, University of Vaasa and Vaasa Energy Institute, P.O. Box 700, 65101 Vaasa, Finland
- Hubei Collaborative Innovation Center for Green Transformation of Bio-Resources and Faculty of Resources and Environmental Science, Hubei University, Wuhan 430062, China
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