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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2013 Jun;17(3):489-95. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2013.03.038. Epub 2013 May 16.

Advances in microalgae engineering and synthetic biology applications for biofuel production.

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The San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Among the technologies being examined to produce renewable fuels, microalgae are viewed by many in the scientific community as having the greatest potential to become economically viable. Algae are capable of producing greater than 50,000 kg/acre/year of biomass [1]. Additionally, most algae naturally accumulate energy-dense oils that can easily be converted into transportation fuels. To reach economic parity with fossil fuels there are still several challenges. These include identifying crop protection strategies, improving harvesting and oil extraction processes, and increasing biomass productivity and oil content. All of these challenges can be impacted by genetic, molecular, and ultimately synthetic biology techniques, and all of these technologies are being deployed to enable algal biofuels to become economically competitive with fossil fuels.

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