Hypes, hopes, and the way forward for microalgal biotechnology

Barbosa, Maria J.; Janssen, Marcel; Südfeld, Christian; D'Adamo, Sarah; Wijffels, Rene H.


The urge for food security and sustainability has advanced the field of microalgal biotechnology. Microalgae are microorganisms able to grow using (sun)light, fertilizers, sugars, CO2, and seawater. They have high potential as a feedstock for food, feed, energy, and chemicals. Microalgae grow faster and have higher areal productivity than plant crops, without competing for agricultural land and with 100% efficiency uptake of fertilizers. In comparison with bacterial, fungal, and yeast single-cell protein production, based on hydrogen or sugar, microalgae show higher land-use efficiency. New insights are provided regarding the potential of microalgae replacing soy protein, fish oil, and palm oil and being used as cell factories in modern industrial biotechnology to produce designer feed, recombinant proteins, biopharmaceuticals, and vaccines.