New technological advances have allowed a significant reduction in the resources required for the production of microalgae. This can lead to an increase in the use of microalgae in a wide range of applications, from food production to medical applications.
Microalgae have great potential for industrial biotechnology. They are an important resource in the production of food and medicine, and many other applications. The economic use of microalgae has been difficult because the existing production methods are costly.
The algae specialist, Professor Michael Melkonian and his team at the University of Cologne have developed a method that can facilitate the production of microalgae, and thus reduce the costs of products based on this material.
Many years of research in the development of fotobiorectores, which use photosynthesis to convert the energy of light into biomass, have preceded this success. The so-called “Porous Substrate Bioreactor” (PSBR), also known as a double layer system, it uses a new principle to separate the microalgae from a solution of nutrients by means of a reactor of surface porous, in which the microalgae are trapped in biopel·lícules. The special of this new procedure is that it reduces the amount of liquid needed, in comparison to the technology currently used, which cultivates the microalgae in suspension. The procedure PSBR allows a significant reduction in the energy and increases the portfolio of microalgae that can be grown.
The current success in the development of PSBR and the increased interest in this technology in recent years, could be a sign of change in the conception of the future of the biotechnology of microalgae photobioreactor.
Microalgae have numerous applications: they are traditional sources of protein and carbohydrates. They can also be used in the production of sustainable natural pigments and antioxidants like beta-carotene and astaxanthin. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are usually found in fish oil can also be synthesized from microalgae.
Moreover, microalgae can also serve as a basis for pharmaceutical agents, such as anticancer and antiviral substances.