Evaluation of: Huerlimann R, de Nys R, Heimann K. Growth, lipid content, productivity, and fatty acid composition of tropical microalgae for scale-up production. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 107(2), 245-257 (2010).
Microalgae-derived biodiesel is considered a highly promising next-generation biofuel, as current fossil fuel reserves are being depleted and combusted causing GHG emissions. Microalgae are arguably the most efficient renewable biofuel source to cover our current and future demand without competing for arable land or natural areas rich in biodiversity. Microalgae are sunlight-driven organisms that convert CO2 to starch and a variety of lipids with applications such as biofuels, foods, animal feeds and high-value bioactive products. The critical parameters affecting species selection for biodiesel production are growth rate, lipid content, lipid productivity and fatty acid composition. Previous research papers and review articles commonly discuss growth parameters of single species, but few report a comprehensive comparison of several microalgae and provide data for lipid productivity in terms of g m-2 day-1 as done by Huerlimann et al. This allows for a direct comparison of microalgal lipid productivity to terrestrial production systems; thus making comparisons between volumetric and area productivity of lipids possible, which is necessary for large-scale production. Distinctively, Huerlimann et al. also study the effects of different growth media on lipid production and composition during different growth phases.