A better way to farm algae

Scientists have long known of the potential of microalgae to aid in the production of biofuels and other valuable chemicals. However, the difficulty and significant cost of growing microalgae have in some ways stalled further ...

'Pharmaceutical' approach boosts oil production from algae

Taking an approach similar to that used for discovering new therapeutic drugs, chemists at the University of California, Davis, have found several compounds that can boost oil production by green microscopic algae, a potential ...

Photobioreactor enables systems biology studies of cyanobacteria

A novel photobioreactor designed and developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for cultivating photosynthetic bacteria and microalgae will be featured in the journal Bioresource Technology. PNNL researchers are using ...

Chemists reveal how algae delete unwanted 'competitors'

Every morning when the sun comes up, the ocean ground is radically cleaned. As soon as the first rays of sunlight find their way into the water, the microalgae "Nitzschia cf pellucida" start their deadly 'morning hygiene'. ...

Spanish scientists search for fuel of the future

In a forest of tubes eight metres high in eastern Spain scientists hope they have found the fuel of tomorrow: bio-oil produced with algae mixed with carbon dioxide from a factory.

The green machine: Algae clean wastewater, convert to biodiesel

Let algae do the dirty work. Researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology are developing biodiesel from microalgae grown in wastewater. The project is doubly "green" because algae consume nitrates and phosphates and reduce ...

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Microphytes or microalgae are microscopic algae, typically found in freshwater and marine systems. They are unicellular species which exist individually, or in chains or groups. Depending on the species, their sizes can range from a few micrometers (µm) to a few hundreds of micrometers. Unlike higher plants, microalgae do not have roots, stems and leaves. Microalgae, capable of performing photosynthesis, are important for life on earth; they produce approximately half of the atmospheric oxygen and use simultaneously the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to grow photoautotrophically.

The biodiversity of microalgae is enormous and they represent an almost untapped resource. It has been estimated that about 200,000-800,000 species exist of which about 35,000 species are described. Over 15,000 novel compounds originating from algal biomass have been chemically determined (Cardozo et al. 2007). Most of these microalgae species produce unique products like carotenoids, antioxidants, fatty acids, enzymes, polymers, peptides, toxins and sterols.

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