Commercial applications of algae: opportunities and constraints
- Cite this article as:
- Radmer, R.J. & Parker, B.C. J Appl Phycol (1994) 6: 93. doi:10.1007/BF02186062
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Microalgae have three fundamental attributes that can be converted into technical and commercial advantages:
They are genetically a very diverse group of organisms with a wide range of physiological and biochemical characteristics; thus they naturally produce many different and unusual fats, sugars, bioactive compounds, etc.
They can cost-effectively incorporate the stable isotopes13C,15N and2H into their biomass, and thus into various compounds they produce.
They comprise a large, unexplored group of organisms, and thus provide a virtually untapped source of products.
The challenge in the application of microalgae to commercial ends is to focus only on those products with large market and/or profit potential, where the use of microalgae leads to clear competitive advantages. This requires a clear understanding of the practical use of the microalgal product, the market it addresses, and its advantages and cost relative to competitive products or processes. Several examples are presented.