Author(s): PerezGarcia O, Escalante FM, deBashan LE, Bashan Y
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Abstract This review analyzes the current state of a specific niche of microalgae cultivation; heterotrophic growth in the dark supported by a carbon source replacing the traditional support of light energy. This unique ability of essentially photosynthetic microorganisms is shared by several species of microalgae. Where possible, heterotrophic growth overcomes major limitations of producing useful products from microalgae: dependency on light which significantly complicates the process, increase costs, and reduced production of potentially useful products. As a general role, and in most cases, heterotrophic cultivation is far cheaper, simpler to construct facilities, and easier than autotrophic cultivation to maintain on a large scale. This capacity allows expansion of useful applications from diverse species that is now very limited as a result of elevated costs of autotrophy; consequently, exploitation of microalgae is restricted to small volume of high-value products. Heterotrophic cultivation may allow large volume applications such as wastewater treatment combined, or separated, with production of biofuels. In this review, we present a general perspective of the field, describing the specific cellular metabolisms involved and the best-known examples from the literature and analyze the prospect of potential products from heterotrophic cultures. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Water Res
and referenced in Journal of Chemical Engineering & Process Technology