The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA
Title: A biorefinery approach to genetic manipulation of microalgae for biofuels production
Biography: Majid Hosseini
An ideal platform as an energy source, algal biofuels could potentially aid in the increasing demand for fuel and may be instrumental in slowing down the process of global warming while subsequently enhancing energy security. Genetic engineering may play a role in creating more effi cient microalgae biofuels and hence making it a viable component of the
energy mix. Improving algae lipid production can be achieved through the inclusion of genetic modifi cation. Th is alteration could not only yield better quality lipids far more suitable as fuel feedstock, but could also allow for the inclusion of lipids in non-traditional products such feed, food or industrial applications. Th ere is also an opportunity to utilize genetic engineering to facilitate the downstream processing of algal biomass into fuels in an integrated biorefi nery. Algae biotechnology has also witnessed the emergence of a fi eld that focuses on introducing genes or metabolic pathways that yield economically important components not found in natural varieties. Examples of such products derived from genetically modifi ed algae include recombinant proteins, fatty acid, hydrogen, ethanol, etc. However, genetic engineering does not come without uncertainties. In this work, the progress and challenges faced when implementing metabolic engineering and genetic manipulation in order to improve algal biomass as a platform for biofuel production will be discussed. A description of cutting edge algae transgenic research is provided. Th e latest developments in engineered microalgae species and biofuels production via carbon metabolism pathway modifi cation are also discussed. Additionally, the role that genetic engineering may play to enhance algal lipid and biofuels production and increase its competitiveness through a biorefi nery approach is presented.