Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Algae, a New Biomass Resource

  • Cinzia FormighieriEmail author
  • Roberto Bassi
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0851-3_436

Definition of the Subject

Algae are oxygenic photoautotrophs , offering a very high level of biodiversity and thus suitable for different practical applications. Today, they are mainly cultivated for human/animal food or to extract high-value chemicals and pharmaceuticals. However, their exploitation could be extended. Algae are attractive as high yield biomass producers, because of the short life cycle, the ability to grow up to very high cell densities, and the easy large-scale cultivation that does not compete with other demands such as those of conventional crops agriculture. Algae can be a resource of renewable, sustainable biofuels . In addition, they can be transformed into “cell factories” to produce recombinant proteins of interest for pharmaceutical companies.


Algae are described as “lower” plants that never have true stems, roots, and leaves, and grow photoautotrophically by performing oxygenic photosynthesis [1]. They are mostly eukaryotic, although...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di BiotecnologieUniversità di VeronaVeronaItaly