Potential of microalgae biomass for the sustainable production of bio-commodities

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Title: Potential of microalgae biomass for the sustainable production of bio-commodities
Authors: Perin, G
Morosinotto, T
Item Type: Chapter
Abstract: Human activities are causing major negative environmental impacts, and the development of sustainable processes for production of commodities is a major urgency. Plant biomass represents a valuable alternative to produce energy and materials, but exploiting present crops for commodities production would however require massive resources (i.e. land, water and nutrients), raising serious sustainability concerns. In addition to efforts to improve plant, land and resource use efficiency, it is thus fundamental to look for alternative sources of biomass to complement crops. Microalgae are unicellular photosynthetic organisms that show a huge, yet untapped, potential in this context. Microalgae metabolism is powered by photosynthesis and thus uses sunlight, a renewable energy source, and the exploitation of microalgae-based products has the potential to provide a beneficial environmental impact. These microorganisms have the ability to synthesize a wide spectrum of bioactive compounds, with many different potential applications (e.g. nutraceutics/pharmaceutics and biofuels). Several, still unresolved, challenges are however present such as the lack of cost-effective cultivation platforms and biomass-harvesting technologies. Moreover, the natural metabolic plasticity of microalgae is not optimized for a production at scale, and low biomass productivity and product yields affect competitiveness. Tuning microalgae metabolism to maximize productivity thus represents an unavoidable challenge to reach the theoretical potential of such organisms.
Editors: Lüttge, U
Issue Date: 22-Mar-2019
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/72650
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/124_2019_30
Publisher: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
Start Page: 1
End Page: 34
Journal / Book Title: Progress in Botany
Progress in Botany
Copyright Statement: © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019. The final publication is available at Springer via https://doi.org/10.1007/124_2019_30
Publication Status: Published
Embargo Date: 2020-03-22
Online Publication Date: 2019-03-22
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Natural Sciences

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