Microalgae for high-value compounds and biofuels production: a review with focus on cultivation under stress conditions

Biotechnol Adv. 2013 Dec;31(8):1532-42. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2013.07.011. Epub 2013 Aug 6.


Microalgal biomass as feedstock for biofuel production is an attracting alternative to terrestrial plant utilization for biofuels production. However, today the microalgal cultivation systems for energy production purposes seem not yet to be economically feasible. Microalgae, though cultivated under stress conditions, such as nutrient starvation, high salinity, high temperature etc. accumulate considerable amounts (up to 60-65% of dry weight) of lipids or carbohydrates along with several secondary metabolites. Especially some of the latter are valuable compounds with an enormous range of industrial applications. The simultaneous production of lipids or carbohydrates for biofuel production and of secondary metabolites in a biorefinery concept might allow the microalgal production to be economically feasible. This paper aims to provide a review on the available literature about the cultivation of microalgae for the accumulation of high-value compounds along with lipids or carbohydrates focusing on stress cultivation conditions.

Keywords: Biorefinery; High-value compounds; Micro-algae; Secondary metabolites; Stress conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biofuels*
  • Bioreactors
  • Biotechnology*
  • Cell Culture Techniques*
  • Microalgae*
  • Stress, Physiological*


  • Biofuels