Aquatic phototrophs: efficient alternatives to land-based crops for biofuels

G. Charles Dismukes, Damian Carrieri, Nicholas Bennette, Gennady M. Ananyev, Matthew C. Posewitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

459 Citations (Scopus)


To mitigate some of the potentially deleterious environmental and agricultural consequences associated with current land-based-biofuel feedstocks, we propose the use of biofuels derived from aquatic microbial oxygenic photoautotrophs (AMOPs), more commonly known as cyanobacteria, algae, and diatoms. Herein we review their demonstrated productivity in mass culturing and aspects of their physiology that are particularly attractive for integration into renewable biofuel applications. Compared with terrestrial crops, AMOPs are inherently more efficient solar collectors, use less or no land, can be converted to liquid fuels using simpler technologies than cellulose, and offer secondary uses that fossil fuels do not provide. AMOPs pose a new set of technological challenges if they are to contribute as biofuel feedstocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-240
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering

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