Multiproduct biorefinery from marine thraustochytrids towards a circular bioeconomy

Trends Biotechnol. 2022 Apr;40(4):448-462. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2021.09.003. Epub 2021 Oct 7.


Microalgal biotechnology research continues to expand due to largely unexplored marine environments and growing consumer interest in healthy products. Thraustochytrids, which are marine oleaginous protists, are known for their production of bioactives with significant applications in nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and aquaculture. A wide range of high-value biochemicals, such as nutritional supplements (omega-3 fatty acids), squalene, exopolysaccharides (EPSs), enzymes, aquaculture feed, and biodiesel and pigment compounds, have been investigated. We discuss thraustochytrids as potential feedstocks to produce various bioactive compounds and advocate developing a biorefinery to offset production costs. We anticipate that future advances in cell manufacturing, lipidomic analysis, and nanotechnology-guided lipid extraction would facilitate large-scale cost-competitive production through these microbes.

Keywords: astaxanthin; bioactives; cell factories; nutraceuticals; omega-3 fatty acids; single cell oil; vegan.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biofuels
  • Biotechnology
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Microalgae* / chemistry
  • Stramenopiles*


  • Biofuels