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Issue 7, 2011
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Metabolic engineering of algae for fourth generation biofuels production

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Abstract

The ecological footprint and economic performance of the current suite of biofuel production methods make them insufficient to displace fossil fuels and reduce their impact on the inventory of Green House Gas (GHG) in the global atmosphere. Algae metabolic engineering forms the basis for 4th generation biofuel production which can meet this need. The first generation biofuels are known to be made from agricultural products such as corn or sugarcane. The second generation biofuels use all forms of (lingo)cellulosic biomass. The third and fourth generation of biofuel production involves “algae-to-biofuels” technology: the former is basically processing of algae biomass for biofuel production, while the latter is about metabolic engineering of algae for producing biofuels from oxygenic photosynthetic microorganisms. Our review focuses on the research achievement of metabolic engineering of algae for biofuel production. It is concluded that 4th generation biofuel production has introduced the “cell factory” concept in this field, and shifted the research paradigm. There still exists several technical bottlenecks in algae biofuel research and development, which can only be solved by the use of post-genome tools on these photosynthetic organisms.

Graphical abstract: Metabolic engineering of algae for fourth generation biofuels production

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Publication details

The article was received on 25 Oct 2010, accepted on 14 Mar 2011 and first published on 19 Apr 2011


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C0EE00593B
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2011,4, 2451-2466
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    Metabolic engineering of algae for fourth generation biofuels production

    J. Lü, C. Sheahan and P. Fu, Energy Environ. Sci., 2011, 4, 2451
    DOI: 10.1039/C0EE00593B

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