METALGAE: The physiology & molecular biology of microalgae for biorefining high value metabolites.
Supervisor: Dr. Nicolas Touzet
Funding Body: Science Foundation Ireland
Microalgae biomass has been utilized as human dietary supplement, in animal feed and aquaculture for centuries. The enormous biodiversity of these single celled photosynthetic organisms, together with their potential for mass cultivation in closed-system photobioreactors, has fostered the rapid development of their application for the production of high valued biotechnological products and services. The aim of my research is to undertake bio-prospecting of water bodies of the west coast of Ireland to isolate and culture native Irish species. Their physiology and molecular biology will be investigated to aid selection of strains with optimal biochemical potential. Finally, photobioreactor design and process up scaling will be undertaken to assess the commercial potential of candidate strain for the production of metabolites of interest (pigments & antimicrobials).