Biodiesel production with microalgae as feedstock: from strains to biodiesel

Biotechnology Letters
Yangmin Gong, Mulan Jiang


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.


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