Biotechnology Letters

, Volume 33, Issue 7, pp 1269–1284 | Cite as

Biodiesel production with microalgae as feedstock: from strains to biodiesel

  • Yangmin Gong
  • Mulan JiangEmail author


Due to negative environmental influence and limited availability, petroleum-derived fuels need to be replaced by renewable biofuels. Biodiesel has attracted intensive attention as an important biofuel. Microalgae have numerous advantages for biodiesel production over many terrestrial plants. There are a series of consecutive processes for biodiesel production with microalgae as feedstock, including selection of adequate microalgal strains, mass culture, cell harvesting, oil extraction and transesterification. To reduce the overall production cost, technology development and process optimization are necessary. Genetic engineering also plays an important role in manipulating lipid biosynthesis in microalgae. Many approaches, such as sequestering carbon dioxide from industrial plants for the carbon source, using wastewater for the nutrient supply, and maximizing the values of by-products, have shown a potential for cost reduction. This review provides a brief overview of the process of biodiesel production with microalgae as feedstock. The methods associated with this process (e.g. lipid determination, mass culture, oil extraction) are also compared and discussed.


Biodiesel Lipid Microalgae Transesterification 



We acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation (no. 30970262) and the Major S&T Projects on the Cultivation of New Varieties of Genetically Modified Organisms (Grant 2009ZX08009-120B). We are grateful to Prof. Ratledge and Archer for valuable suggestions on the manuscript, and the referees who made a great effort to improve it. We are also grateful to Prof. Robert Haselkorn (University of Chicago) for his kind help in improving the manuscript. We apologize to colleagues whose original work has not been cited or replaced by reviews, due to space limitation.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oil Crops Research InstituteChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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