Genetic engineering of microalgae for enhanced biorefinery capabilities

Mehmooda Fayyaz, Kit Wayne Chew, Pau Loke Show, Tau Chuan Ling, I. Son Ng, Jo Shu Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Microalgae-based bioproducts are in limelight because of their promising future, novel characteristics, the current situation of population needs, and rising prices of rapidly depleting energy resources. Algae-based products are considered as clean sustainable energy and food resources. At present, they are not commercialized due to their high production cost and low yield. In recent years, novel genome editing tools like RNAi, ZNFs, TALENs, and CRISPR/Cas9 are used to enhance the quality and quantity of the desired products. Genetic and metabolic engineering are frequently applied because of their rapid and precise results than random mutagenesis. Omic approaches help enhance biorefinery capabilities and are now in the developing stage for algae. The future is very bright for transgenic algae with increased biomass yield, carbon dioxide uptake rate, accumulating high-value compounds, reduction in cultivation, and production costs, thus reaching the goal in the global algal market and capital flow. However, microalgae are primary producers and any harmful exposure to the wild strains can affect the entire ecosystem. Therefore, strict regulation and monitoring are required to assess the potential risks before introducing genetically modified microalgae into the natural ecosystem.

Original languageBritish English
Article number107554
JournalBiotechnology Advances
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Algomics
  • Enhanced biomass potential
  • Genome editing tools
  • Risk assessment
  • Transgenic algae


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