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Towards a better sunlight to biomass conversion efficiency in microalgae
www.ulg.ac.be/genemic/sunbiopath

Reference no: FP7-KBBE-2009-3
Acronym: SUNBIOPATH
Period: January 2010 till January 2013
Status: Completed
 Institutes 

Institutes (5)  Top 
  • Université de Liège (ULG), more, co-ordinator
  • The National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), more, partner
  • University of Geneva, more, partner
  • University College London (UCL), more, partner
  • Wageningen University and Research Centre; University of Wageningen, more, partner

Abstract
SUNBIOPATH - towards a better sunlight to biomass conversion efficiency in microalgae - is an integrated program of research aimed at improving biomass yields and valorization of biomass for two Chlorophycean photosynthetic microalgae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Dunaliella salina. Biomass yields will be improved at the level of primary processes that occur in the chloroplasts (photochemistry and sunlight capture by the light harvesting complexes) and in the cell (biochemical pathways and signaling mechanisms that influence ATP synthesis). Optimal growth of the engineered microalgae will be determined in photobioreactors, and biomass yields will be tested using a scale up approach in photobioreactors of different sizes (up to 250 L), some of which being designed and built during SUNBIOPATH. Biomethane production will be evaluated.
Compared to other biofuels, biomethane is attractive because the yield of biomass to fuel conversion is higher. Valorization of biomass will also be achieved through the production of high-value antigens in the chloroplast. Significant progress has been made in the development of chloroplast genetic engineering in microalgae such as Chlamydomonas, however the commercial exploitation of this technology still requires additional research. SUNBIOPATH will address the problem of maximising transgenic expression in the chloroplast and will develop a robust system for producing vaccines by
developing mecthodologies such as inducible expression and trans-operon expression.A techno economic analysis will be made to evaluate the feasibility of using these algae for the purposes proposed (antigen production in the chloroplast and/or biomethane production) taking into account their role in CO2 mitigation.

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