Research Topic

Microalgae Biology and Biotechnology

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Microalgae are photosynthetic unicellular microorganisms that have colonized a wide range of freshwater and marine ecosystems. All algae species can potentially accumulate energy-rich molecules such as oils and polysaccharides, besides having the capacity to produce protein-rich biomass, depending on the ...

Microalgae are photosynthetic unicellular microorganisms that have colonized a wide range of freshwater and marine ecosystems. All algae species can potentially accumulate energy-rich molecules such as oils and polysaccharides, besides having the capacity to produce protein-rich biomass, depending on the species and environmental conditions.

Microalgae have attracted high interest for their potential to be cultivated as energy feed-stock even in non-arable-land. Moreover, microalgae can also provide a variety of high-value products, such as pigments, antioxidants, volatiles, long-chain polyunsaturated acids (omega-3 and omega-6), extracts for cosmetics and many other molecules with commercial potential. Metabolically engineered microalgae have already been used to synthesize high value products such as terpenoids directly from carbon dioxide, or other heterologous products, but productivity is limited by several bottlenecks.

Despite intensive microalgae-oriented research efforts in the last decade, our understanding of their biology and physiology is still limited and restricted to a few model species. Moreover, the molecular toolbox for genetic and metabolic engineering needs to be expanded. With this Research Topic, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the current knowledge on microalgae biology in terms of their life cycle, environmental adaptation and acclimation strategies as well as their evolution. Moreover, here we focus on recent findings on biotechnological applications of microalgae in order to overcome limitations to produce high value products and biofuels.

We welcome the submission of all types of articles, with a preference for Original Research, Reviews, and Opinions, focusing on the following:

- Metabolic engineering of microalgae for the sustainable production of high value products or biofuels from carbon dioxide.
- Genome editing in microalgae by CRISPR methods.
- Studies on the effect of the environmental conditions on microalgae biology and biomass productivity: deepened knowledge on microalgal acclimation towards environmental cues and its biotechnological exploitation.
- Investigation of cell cycle regulation and sexual reproduction in microalgae.
- Gene expression regulation in microalgae.
- Evolutionary perspective on microalgae biology and comparative genomics.
- Studies on the relations between microalgae and other microorganisms within microbial communities in natural conditions or in artificial cultivation systems.

Please note, descriptive studies using omics approaches will be considered for review only if they are expanded to provide further insights into microalgae biology.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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