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Trends Biotechnol. 2013 Feb;31(2):70-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2012.10.009. Epub 2012 Dec 12.

Marine macroalgae: an untapped resource for producing fuels and chemicals.

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Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


As world energy demand continues to rise and fossil fuel resources are depleted, marine macroalgae (i.e., seaweed) is receiving increasing attention as an attractive renewable source for producing fuels and chemicals. Marine plant biomass has many advantages over terrestrial plant biomass as a feedstock. Recent breakthroughs in converting diverse carbohydrates from seaweed biomass into liquid biofuels (e.g., bioethanol) through metabolic engineering have demonstrated potential for seaweed biomass as a promising, although relatively unexplored, source for biofuels. This review focuses on up-to-date progress in fermentation of sugars from seaweed biomass using either natural or engineered microbial cells, and also provides a comprehensive overview of seaweed properties, cultivation and harvesting methods, and major steps in the bioconversion of seaweed biomass to biofuels.

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