Microalgae As a Green source for Nutritional Ingredients for Food/Feed and Ingredients for Cosmetics by cost-Effective New Technologies
Magnificent aims to expand the range of commercial algae products and their market volume significantly and in a sustainable manner. The overall objective of the project is to develop and validate a sustainable and economically feasible new value chain based on cultivation and processing of microalgae, with the aim to transform microalgae biomass into valuable ingredients for food, aquafeed and cosmetics applications.
Microalgae are a promising raw material for sustainable production of food, feed and non-food products. Microalgae can be grown on land unsuitable for agriculture using seawater and CO2 from flue gas. Algal cultures have a high areal productivity, and the produced biomass is a rich source of proteins, oils and other high-added value compounds including omega fatty acids, colourants, anti-oxidants, and other bioactive ingredients.
Today there are only market opportunities for high value applications because the production costs are still too high to make microalgae a competitive feedstock for commodities. There is presently a large production capacity for a limited number of microalgae strains in Europe. However, the number of concrete products and market applications is still limited. The enlargement of current market applications for high-value microalgae ingredients will lead to new business opportunities, industrialize the technology and provide the knowledge and experience required to enter the medium- low value market within 5-10 years.
How to achieve this
The various steps in the production chain will be optimized. The cultivation of the microalgae will be improved by the selection of new, better performing algae varieties, by adaptation of the cultivation process to reach a higher concentration of valuable target products and by improvement of the extraction and purification processes. In this way the overall aim to maximise the production of compounds of interest can be achieved. In the project the focus is on production of phospholipids rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fucoxanthin. Development and validation of new product formulations based on these compounds are included in the project. The work is supported by chain evaluation, market assessment, socio-economic impact assessment and Life Cycle Assessment. Specific attention is being paid to the requirements of the EU regulatory framework.
Progress of CRISPR‐Cas Based Genome Editing in Photosynthetic Microbes (2018)
The carbon footprint caused by unsustainable development and its environmental and economic impact has become a major concern in the past few decades. Photosynthetic microbes such as microalgae and cyanobacteria are capable of accumulating value‐added compounds from carbon dioxide, and have been regarded as environmentally friendly alternatives to reduce the usage of fossil fuels, thereby contributing to reducing the carbon footprint. This light‐driven generation of green chemicals and biofuels has triggered the research for metabolic engineering of these photosynthetic microbes. CRISPR‐Cas systems are successfully implemented across a wide range of prokaryotic and eukaryotic species for efficient genome editing. However, the inception of this genome editing tool in microalgal and cyanobacterial species took off rather slowly due to various complications. In this review, we elaborate on the established CRISPR‐Cas based genome editing in various microalgal and cyanobacterial species. The complications associated with CRISPR‐Cas based genome editing in these species are addressed along with possible strategies to overcome these issues. It is anticipated that in the near future this will result in improving and expanding the microalgal and cyanobacterial genome engineering toolbox.Donwload PDF
CRISPR–Cas ribonucleoprotein mediated homology-directed repair for efficient targeted genome editing in microalgae Nannochloropsis oceanica IMET1 (2019)
Microalgae are considered as a sustainable feedstock for the production of biofuels and other value-added compounds. In particular, Nannochloropsis spp. stand out from other microalgal species due to their capabilities to accumulate both triacylglycerol (TAG) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). However, the commercialization of microalgae-derived products is primarily hindered by the high production costs compared to less sustainable alternatives. Efficient genome editing techniques leading to effective metabolic engineering could result in strains with enhanced productivities of interesting metabolites and thereby reduce the production costs. Competent CRISPR-based genome editing techniques have been reported in several microalgal species, and only very recently in Nannochloropsis spp. (2017). All the reported CRISPR–Cas-based systems in Nannochloropsis spp. rely on plasmid-borne constitutive expression of Cas9 and a specific guide, combined with repair of double-stranded breaks (DSB) by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) for the target gene knockout.Donwload PDF
The magnificent algae consortium has 16 partners from 7 EU countries incl. 10 Small or Medium Sized enterprises, 3 Large Enterprises, 1 University and 2 Research and Technology Organisations.
The partners tasks range from optimization of algae strains to enhance their productivity, development and optimization of processing technologies and the development of new products and applications for the target markets. The work will be supported by techno-economic assessment, market development and LCA. The consortium comprises commercial partners in the entire value chain and in the 3 target sectors: food, feed and cosmetics.
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