Production of Chemicals of Industrial Application by Microalgae and Cyanobacteria

Microalgae and cyanobacteria are a source of a high number of chemicals of industrial interest, such as Carotenoids and Fatty acids among others, as well as Biomass for feed (including aquaculture) and food (mainly nutraceuticals).The productivity by microalgae of these compounds is not as high as it would be required to be economically profitable. Our group is working to find different ways to overcome this limitation: by selecting the most adequate strains for the production; by identifying the conditions that lead to maximal productivities; by obtaining super-producing mutants by either classical mutagenesis or genetic engineering in the selected strains; and by studying the corresponding metabolic pathways and their regulation.

Our field of research includes the production of Carotenoids, Fatty Acids, Biodiesel and other Biofuels, Phycobiliproteins, Polysaccharides, Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidants by Microalgae and Cyanobacteria, with a multidisciplinary approach that involves Physiology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Microbiology, Classical Genetics, Molecular Biology and Genetic and Metabolic Engineering.

Isolation and Screening of Microalgae and Cyanobacteria for the production of carotenoids of commercial interest in either food or feed (as lutein and astaxanthin) and fatty acids, the latter with the objective of the production of cosmetics, detergents, biodiesel, as well as biomass rich in essential fatty acids to be used in nutrition. Other compounds of industrial interest, already mentioned in the previous paragraph, are also considered in our Research.

Study of the Carotenoids Metabolic Pathway and its regulation in Chlorella zofingiensis, Haematococcus pluvialis and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, both, in the wild strains and in the stable super-producing mutants isolated by our group by Classical Mutagenesis.

Characterization of the fatty acids metabolic pathway and its regulation in microalgae, with the objective of obtaining lipids super-producing strains to be used either for biodiesel production or for cosmetics and detergents industries, as well as in nutrition.

Development of new efficient methods for the genetic manipulation (stable transformation) of different microalgae strains, in order to enhance specific carotenoids or fatty acids productivity with, either energy applications or for the manufacture of cosmetics, detergents or additives in food or feed. 

Junta de Andalucía

Selected Publications
Type: Publications in journals
Enhancement of carotenoids biosynthesis in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii by nuclear transformation using a phytoene synthase gene isolated from Chlorella zofingiensis
Authors: Cordero BF, Couso I, León R, Rodríguez H, Vargas MA
Publication Year: 2011
Pages: 341-351
Journal: Applied Microbiol Biotechnol
Volume: 91
Type: Publications in journals
Carotenoid deficiency triggers autophagy in the model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Authors: Perez-Perez, M.E., Couso, I., Crespo González, J.L.
Publication Year: 2012
Pages: 376-388
Journal: Autophagy
Volume: 8
Process for obtaining Lutein From Green Algae
Inventors: Cordero BF, Obraztsova I, Rodríguez H, Vargas MA, Martín L, Verseck S, Martínez C, Gutsche B, Weiss A
Date: 13/08/2008
Efficient Astaxanthin Production Strains Derived From Haematococcus pluvialis
Inventors: - Martín L, Obraztsova I, Cordero BF, Vargas MA, Weiss A, Gustche B, Johannisbauer W, Rodríguez H
Date: 23/05/2007