Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 2, 2016
Previous Article Next Article

From sugars to biodiesel using microalgae and yeast

Author affiliations


The economic production of algal biofuels requires novel strategies, such as microbial consortia and synthetic ecologies, to boost the productivity of open pond systems. These strategies have not been fully explored partly due to the lack of reliable and predictive process models. This study uses genome-based metabolic networks to build a process model of a raceway pond. This process model is used as a discovery tool for novel process strategies. First, an algal monoculture with flue gas sparging is modeled. Then, an oleaginous yeast monoculture is modeled. The yeast monoculture is O2 limited and the presence of algae in the culture would result in better resource utilization. Next, an algal/fungal raceway pond with a feed of cellulosic glucose is explored. Finally, an oleaginous yeast that can consume a glucose/xylose mix, resulting from the hydrolysis of lignocellulosic waste, is modeled. This model predicts biomass and lipids productivities comparable to those reported in the literature. Assuming 50% yield loss due to contamination and invasion, a simple economic analysis shows that an algae/yeast coculture can produce biodiesel at competitive prices, $2.01 per liter for pure glucose and $1.44 per liter for the sugar mix, whereas the algae monoculture can do so only at very short distances from a flue gas source. This modeling framework will enable the use of optimization algorithms in the design of open pond systems in the near future and will allow the exploration of novel strategies in bioprocesses employing microbial communities.

Graphical abstract: From sugars to biodiesel using microalgae and yeast

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 09 Aug 2015, accepted on 10 Sep 2015 and first published on 10 Sep 2015

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5GC01843A
Author version
Download author version (PDF)
Citation: Green Chem., 2016,18, 461-475
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
  •   Request permissions

    From sugars to biodiesel using microalgae and yeast

    J. A. Gomez, K. Höffner and P. I. Barton, Green Chem., 2016, 18, 461
    DOI: 10.1039/C5GC01843A

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author