LEONARDI Patricia Ines
congresos y reuniones científicas
From cell biology to biodiesel: an interdisciplinary study of microalgae in Argentina
Conferencia; Biologia Cellulare e Molecolare e Biotecnologie e Differenziamento; 2013
The biodiesel production and employment as an alternative fuel have grown during the last years in the world. Most of this biofuel is industrially obtained from seed oils. However, there is a dichotomy between energy and food. Therefore, the search for other alternative sources of feedstock is an on-going activity. Some species of oleaginous microalgae are capable of producing high lipid contents under certain conditions that turn them into a potential source of feedstock. The major challenges in biodiesel production processes consist in choosing the best strains and defining culture strategies so as to simultaneously reach high biomass productivities, high lipid contents and adequate fatty acid profiles. With a view to start these studies, it is indispensable to know basic aspects of cell biology, physiology and chemical composition of the oleaginous microalgae. This lecture aims at presenting the results obtained in Argentina by an interdisciplinary group about lipids and biodiesel production at lab scale from native microalgae. Haematococcus pluvialis will be employed as a model of this integrated study. The following items will be analyzed: 1) relevant aspects about cell biology and chemical composition, 2) culture conditions that optimize the growth and induce synthesis of high lipid contents, 3) harvesting and lipid extraction methods, 4) fatty acid profiles and 5) biodiesel production. It is expected that these results will form a strong base for a future pilot scale-up. Even though numerous scientific-technological problems should be solved in this field in order to obtain biodiesel at an industrial scale with a competitive cost, the imminent energetic crisis goes on encouraging the world development of these research activities.