Chlamydomonas as a model for biofuels and bio-products production

Plant J. 2015 May;82(3):523-531. doi: 10.1111/tpj.12780. Epub 2015 Feb 18.


Developing renewable energy sources is critical to maintaining the economic growth of the planet while protecting the environment. First generation biofuels focused on food crops like corn and sugarcane for ethanol production, and soybean and palm for biodiesel production. Second generation biofuels based on cellulosic ethanol produced from terrestrial plants, has received extensive funding and recently pilot facilities have been commissioned, but to date output of fuels from these sources has fallen well short of what is needed. Recent research and pilot demonstrations have highlighted the potential of algae as one of the most promising sources of sustainable liquid transportation fuels. Algae have also been established as unique biofactories for industrial, therapeutic, and nutraceutical co-products. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii's long established role in the field of basic research in green algae has paved the way for understanding algal metabolism and developing genetic engineering protocols. These tools are now being utilized in C. reinhardtii and in other algal species for the development of strains to maximize biofuels and bio-products yields from the lab to the field.

Keywords: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; bio-products; biofuels; molecular engineering; recombinant proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biofuels*
  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Chlamydomonas / metabolism*
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / genetics
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / growth & development
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / metabolism
  • Chloroplasts / genetics
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays / methods
  • Homologous Recombination
  • Hydrogen / metabolism
  • Microalgae / growth & development
  • Microalgae / metabolism


  • Biofuels
  • Hydrogen