Establishing Oleaginous Microalgae Research Models for Consolidated Bioprocessing of Solar Energy

  • Dongmei Wang
  • Yandu Lu
  • He Huang
  • Jian XuEmail author
Part of the Advances in Biochemical Engineering Biotechnology book series (ABE, volume 128)


Algal feedstock is the foundation of the emerging algal biofuel industry. However, few algae found in nature have demonstrated the combination of high biomass accumulation rate, robust oil yield and tolerance to environmental stresses, all complex traits that a large-scale, economically competitive production scheme demands. Therefore, untangling the intricate sub-cellular networks underlying these complex traits, in one or a series of carefully selected algal research models, has become an urgent research mission, which can take advantage of the emerging model oleaginous microalgae that have already demonstrated small, simple and tackleable genomes and the potential for large-scale open-pond cultivation. The revolutions in whole-genome-based technologies, coupled with systems biology, metabolic engineering and synthetic biology approaches, would enable the rational design and engineering of algal feedstock and help to fill the gaps between the technical and economical reality and the enormous potential of algal biofuels.

Graphical Abstract

In a “Consolidated Bio-processing of Solar Energy” (CBP-SE) scheme, a number of traditionally discrete processing steps, including photosynthesis, accumulation of energy storage compounds, and production of ethanol, biodiesel, advanced biofuel, high-value chemicals and food additives are consolidated into a single processing step, typically in a single cell or cellular system. Nannochloropsis spp. can serve as a research model and production strains for CBP-SE.


Biofuels Functional genomics Oil-producing algae Research models Synthetic biology Systems biology 



We apologize to the many researchers whose past and ongoing works contributed to the development of microalgal energy in China but were not cited in this brief review.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Biofuels, Shandong Key Laboratory of Energy GeneticsBioEnergy Genome CenterQingdaoChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Materials-Oriented Chemical EngineeringCollege of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering, Nanjing University of TechnologyNanjingChina

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