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Microalgae and cyanobacteria


Microalgae and cyanobacteria provide us a high percentage of the oxygen we need to breathe. They are also in the aquatic environment, the first link in the food chain. We therefore owe our lives to them ... and they will change our way of life.

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									                                               May | June 2011
          Feature title: Microalgae and cyanobacteria

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The International magazine for the aquaculture feed industry
 F: Microalgae                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   F: Microalgae
                                                                                                                                                 Table 2: Cyanobacteria as a potential source of
                                                                                                                                                          fermentable carbohydrates
                                                                                                                                                          (Vargas et al. 1998, J. Phycol. 34, 812)             required to achieve this
                                                                                                                                                                                          Carbohydrates        ambitious goal, but also
                                                                                                                                                 Strain                                     (% of dry          the combination of this
                                                                                                                                                                                             weight)           process with a realistic
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Strategic and Business
                                                                                                                                                          Anabaena sp. ATCC 33047           28.0 ± 2.0
                                                                                                                                                                Anabaena variabilis         22.3 ± 2.5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Figure 1: AlgaEnergy’s CO2BIOCAP
                                                                                                                                                                                                               R&D and                                                          mobile laboratory
                                                                                                                                                                   Anabaenopsis sp.         16.3 ± 1.5         a realistic
                                                                                                                                                             Nodularia sp. (Chucula)        16.9 ± 2.6         Business Plan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    AlgaEnergy is developing a          kind, which will incorporate four types of
                                                                                                                                                                   Nostoc commune           37.6 ± 2.5
                                                                                                                                                                                                               responsible scientific agenda            photobioreactors (PBR): columns, tubular
                                                                                                                                                                   Nostoc paludosum        26.6 ± 1.9
                                                                                                                                                                                                               aimed at achieving the commer-           reactors, semi-open and in a second stage,
                                                                                                                                                                 Nostoc sp. (Albufera)     26.8 ± 4.0          cially viable production of biofuels     raceways. The plant will be entirely auto-
                                                                                                                                                               Nostoc sp. (Caquena)        23.3 ± 1.7          derived from microalgae. The             mated and controlled by specially designed
                                                                                                                                                                   Nostoc sp. (Chile)      23.3 ± 2.0
                                                                                                                                                                                                               R&D programmes provided for              software, which manages all the cultivation
                                                                                                                                                                                                               that purpose include the selection       parameters. Its goal is to research and
                                                                                                                                                                 Nostoc sp. (Chucula)      15.7 ± 1.8
                                                                                                                                                                                                               and genetic engineering work on          develop new PBR processes and technolo-
                                                                                                                                                                   Nostoc sp. (Llaita)     20.2 ± 1.5          various types of microalgae, which       gies in this field. For this reason, the plant

Microalgae and cyanobacteria
                                                                                                                                                                     Nostoc sp. (Loa)      32.1 ± 1.2          carry substantial quantities of lipids   will have the flexibility and capacity to grow
                                                                                                                                                                                                               or carbohydrates (some of which          simultaneously different species of micro-
                                                                                                                                                  and for transport), and the flue gases from                  are patented), the development of        algae in different growing conditions, using
                                                                                                                                                  conventional energy generation facilities         new photobioreactors more efficient and             indoor and outdoor PBR. The cultivation
We owe them our lives ... and they will change our way of life                                                                                    can therefore be used as a source of
                                                                                                                                                  CO2 for large-scale microalgae cultivation
                                                                                                                                                                                                    with lower costs, and the establishment of
                                                                                                                                                                                                    a suitable and scalable production process.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        area will be initially of about 1,000 m2 and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the culture volume up to 72,000 l.
                                                                                                                                                  installations.                                        At present, biofuels produced from                 AlgaEnergy’s plant will be visited during
  by Juan Pablo Jiménez Martín, Agricultural Engineer, Sales Manager, AlgaEnergy SA, Spain                                                           The production of liquid biofuels for          microalgae are not financially competitive          the 3rd Algae World Europe congress that
                                                                                                                                                  vehicles (biodiesel and bioethanol), is a very    with the first-

                                                                                                                                                  promising alternative                             generation bio-
              icroalgae and cyanobac-            their contribution to climate change is           water and it does not compete with human          A series of factors must be taken into         fuels obtained
              teria provide us a high            also a reality that is endangering the future     food because it does not require the use of    account when selecting microalgae as a            from conven-
              percentage of the oxygen           of the earth and mankind. Is sustainable          agricultural land.                             source of biofuel precursors, such as: high       tional agricultur-
              we need to breathe.They            development still possible in view of all this?      Microalgae cultivation consumes harmful     productivity, temperature tolerance, toler-       al crops, and bio-
are also in the aquatic environment,                                                               CO2 gas as an essential nutrient (the main     ance to pH, high performance in fermenta-         mass production
being the first step in the food chain.          Microalgae & biofuels                             agent of the anthropogenic GHGs that           ble carbohydrates for ethanol production          and processing
We therefore owe our lives to them                   Microalgae are microorganisms that            result from burning the fossil fuels used      or in fatty acids transformable to biodiesel,     must therefore
... and they will change our way of life.        contain chlorophyll and other pigments            for energy production in various industries    for example.                                      be substantially
                                                 and are able to perform oxygenic                                                                    We also need to establish the most             improved so that
   Indeed, in the near future, they are going    photosynthesis, releasing oxygen      Table 1: Comparison of some sources of biodiesel           suitable type of cultivation system to be         the price of the
to be able to generate clean energy and          into the atmosphere through water              (Chisti 2007; Biotechnol. Adv. 25, 294)           used (open, closed or mixed), and the most        product can be
second-generation biofuels, as well as other     photolysis and synthesising organic                                                              favourable operating conditions (batch,           reduced by an
                                                                                                                       Land        Percent of
products of benefit to mankind. This will        material from oxidised forms of                                                                  semi-continuous, continuous, number of            order of magni-
                                                                                                         Oil yield     area       existing US
also contribute to a sustainable develop-        the primordial bioelements such as    Crop                                                       phases, etc.).                                    tude at least.
                                                                                                          (L/ha)      needed       cropping
ment and to improve the environment on           carbon dioxide or CO2, all at the                                    (Mha)a         areaa           Tables 2 and 3 below show some exam-               AlgaEnergy
our planet.                                      expense of an inexhaustible energy                                                               ples of cyanobacteria as potential sources        is      currently
   Energy is an essential component of           source: sunlight. Over 30,000 spe-                                                               of fermentable carbohydrates for ethanol          engaged in the
                                                                                                Corn       172         1,540          846
economic and social development in our           cies of microalgae exist on our                                                                  production and the lipid content of some          construction of
times, and economic activity would be            planet, with a multitude of shapes,        Soybean        446          594           326         microalgae for biodiesel production.              its first plant, a
considerably limited without the thermal,        sizes and colours. Together with the        Canola       1,190         223           122            The expectations raised by microalgae          Te c h n o l o g i c a l
mechanical and electrical energy generated       higher plants, as we have mentioned,       Jatropha      1,892         140            77         as a source of second-generation bio-             Platform           for
by burning fuel.                                 they are the basic support of life                                                               fuels have led to the creation of a large         Experimentation
                                                                                            Coconut       2,689           99           54
   Studies conducted by the International        on earth and oxygenation of the                                                                  number of companies, some of which have           with Microalgae
Energy Agency show that world evolution          atmosphere.                                Oil Palm      5,950          45            24         made significant investment. Our company          ( P T E M ) ,
of the demand for primary energy is set to           The making of liquid biofuels for  Microalgaeb 136,900                2          1.1         AlgaEnergy is convinced that in the near          located at the
increase at a rate of 1.8 percent per year,      vehicles (biodiesel and bioethanol),   Microalgaec       58,700        4.5           2.5         future microalgae will be able to provide         International
going from the 10,000Mtoe (million tonnes        from certain microalgae and cyano-    a For meeting 50% of all transport fuel needs in the       us with these forms of clean energy so            Airport             of
of oil equivalent) produced in 2000 to the       bacteria is a very promising alterna-    United States.                                          necessary for the sustainable economic            Madrid-Barajas.
17,000Mtoe estimated for 2030.                   tive as the production represents     b 70% oil (by wt) in biomass.                              development of our societies. Not only is         This is intended
   The significant increase in atmospheric       a sustainable and scalable process,                                                              constant research and development the             to be a model
                                                                                       c 30% oil (by wt) in biomass.
emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and          it uses sea water, brine or waste                                                                basis for a continuous innovation process         platform of its

                                                24 InternatIonal AquAFeed May-June 2011
                                                24 || InternatIonal AquAFeed || May-June 2011                                                                                                        May-June 2011 InternatIonal AquAFeed 25
                                                                                                                                                                                                     May-June 2011 || InternatIonal AquAFeed || 25
        F: Microalgae                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                F: Microalgae
                                                                                                              programmes have enabled the company                Table 4: Oil content of some microalgae
                                                                                                              to begin working in the aquaculture and                     (Chisti, 2007; Biotechnol. Adv. 25,
                                                                                                              cosmetics sectors. AlgaEnergy has paid                      294)
                                                                                                              special attention to the aquaculture sector,
                                                                                                              and it now markets biomass from differ-                                             Oil content
                                                                                                                                                                 Strain                           (% of dry
                                                                                                              ent microalgae with outstanding properties                                           weight)
                                                                                                              and performance, under its brand name

                                                                                                                The research being conducted by                           Botryococcus braunii       25-75
                                                                                                            AlgaEnergy is linked to major microalgae
                                                                                                                                                                                  Chlorella sp.      28-32
                                                                                                            research centres at outstanding universi-
                                                                                                            ties in this field – Seville, Almeria, and                Crypthecodinium cohnii          20
                                                                                                            Santiago de Compostela – and other                               Cylindrotheca sp.       16-37
                                                                                                            organisations of international projection                     Dunaliella primolecta       23
                                                                                                            and renown, including the Spanish National
                                                                                                                                                                                 Isochrysis sp.      25-33
                                                                                                            Research Council (CSIC) and the Spanish
                                                                                                                                                                           Monallanthus salina       > 20
                                                                                                            Institute of Oceanography (IEO).                                                                                                                                    Figure 3: AlgaEnerg's CO2BIOCAP
                                                                                                                At the moment, the production takes                           Nannochloris sp.       20-35                                                                                     mobile laboratory
                                                                                                            place at the Las Palmerillas Experimental                     Nannochloropsis sp.        31-68
   Figure 2: Tubular photobioreactors at the Estación                                                       Station, which is equipped with large-sized             Neochloris oleoabundans          35-54
   Experimental “Las Palmerillas”, where AlgaEnergy is                                                      closed vertical and horizontal tubular                                                               and environment. If this is not done, this     the world. AlgaEnergy therefore trust that
   currently producing its microalgae.                                                                                                                                           Nitzschia sp.       45-47
                                                                                                            photobioreactors that work in continuous                                                             threefold crisis will worsen and give rise     its findings, technologies and microalgae-
                                                                                                            mode, enabling AlgaEnergy to ensure an                 Phaeodactylum tricornutum         20-30       to unpredictable consequences over time,       derived products will contribute to this
                                                                                                            excellent quality and hygienisation in the                      Schizochytrium sp.       50-77       therefore we therefore need to acquire a       progress and to preserving the environ-
        will take place in Madrid on May 16-17,            of high added value products related to          production process for its two key strains                      Tetraselmis suecica      15-23       more in-depth knowledge of microalgae          ment and nature and life on our planet.
        2011. The company is also corporate spon-          food for human consumption, animal feed,         Nannochloropsis gaditana PREMIUM and                                                                 today and give greater use to their            Microalgae, these living beings, can be
        sor of such an important international             pigments, dermocosmetics, nutraceuticals,        Isochrysis galbana, which have demonstrated         revolution, this time led by mankind, with       enormous potential, as this is of huge         paid a tribute in one phrase: “we owe
        event it the algae field.                          biomedicine and even wastewater treat-           outstanding properties as food for rotifers         the objective of remedying the triple            significance and will bring sustainability     them our lives... and they will change our
                                                           ment. Considerable development of these          and for the green waters technique.                 crisis affecting humanity: food, energy          and wellbeing to the different regions of      way of life”.
        Products derived                                   applications and their corresponding bioin-          Another market we expect to enter in
        from microalgae                                    dustries is to be expected until the produc-     the near future is in the weaning and finish-
           Apart from biofuel production, these            tion of biofuels from microalgae is made         ing feed for aquaculture. We consider that
        photosynthetic microorganisms provide              profitable. The chart below shows some of        animal feed needs to be provided with extra
        a whole host of business opportunities             the products derived from microalgae, their      quality, and this can be achieved through the                                                                                                                                                       DP

        for the totally natural products derived           destination markets and their prices.            use of microalgae. However, the current low
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LS   LS


        from them. Microalgae are therefore an                                                              price of fattening feed makes it difficult for
        important and exclusive natural source of          Microalgae in the                                microalgae to be incorporated to it.
                                                           aquaculture sector

        many compounds and essential products                                                                   In any case, taking into account both the
        for meeting the needs of numerous markets          AlgaEnergy has identified the market             price variations of vegetable proteins and the


        today.                                             requirements and set up major R&D pro-           quality that would be provided by the cells
           Microalgae in fact have a huge bio-             grammes with the corresponding budget.           of these organisms, with their high omega-3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            M        M
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     6   6               6


        technological potential for the generation         The results being obtained from these            acid content, we believe that microalgae                                                                                                                            DP

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MCC 2

                                                                                                                        could be included in microparticu-                                                                                                                               LS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              L                                              10

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             MCC 1

Table 3: comercially produced microalgae: amounts, locations, applications and market value
                                                                                                                        late, weaning or finishing feed, as a
(2004) (Brennan and Owende 2010)

                                                                                                                        partial substitute for the flour and
                   Microalga Annual Production Producer Country Application/Product                     Price           fish oil used at present.

                                                                               Human nutrition          36€/kg           Conclusion
                                                         China, India,
                                                                               Animal nutrition                              In the distant past, oxygenic
       Arthrospira (Spirulina)      3000t d.w.         U.S.A., Myanmar,
                                                                                  Cosmetics                              photosynthesis by cyanobacte-
                                                                               Phycobiliproteins        11€/mg           ria and microalgae created the
                                                                                Human nutrition                          conditions that enabled a huge
                                                       Taiwan, Germany,                                 36€/kg
                    Chlorella       2000t d.w.                                    Cosmetics                              energy revolution to occur in the
                                                            Japan                                        50€/L
                                                                                                                         living world, allowing the devel-
                                                                                Human nutrition                          opment of aerobic respiration
                                                        Australia, Israel,                            215-2150€/
            Dunaliella salina       1200t d.w.                                    Cosmetics
                                                         U.S.A., Japan                                     kg            and the emergence of new forms
                                                                                 Beta carotene
                                                                                                                         of life based on it, which finally
   Aphanizomenon flos-aque           500t d.w.               U.S.A.             Human nutrition
                                                                                                                         led to the appearance of human
                                                         U.S.A., India,          Aquaculture             50€/L           beings on our planet.
    Haematococcus pluvialis          300t d.w.
                                                             Israel              Astaxanthin           7150€/kg              Cyanobacteria and micro-
     Crypthecodinium cohnil        240t DHA oil              U.S.A.                DHA oil               43€/g           algae may now be called upon
               Shizochytrium       10t DHA oil               U.S.A.                DHA oil               43€/g           to play a leading role in a new

                                                         26 InternatIonal AquAFeed May-June 2011
                                                         26 || InternatIonal AquAFeed || May-June 2011                                                                                                          May-June 2011 InternatIonal AquAFeed 27
                                                                                                                                                                                                                May-June 2011 || InternatIonal AquAFeed || 27
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