Production of high-value hydrocarbons in photosynthetic microalgae

Steady increases in world population necessitate continued growth in staple food production, together with the production of dietary supplements such as vitamins. Chemical synthesis of supplement compounds is in many cases not commercially viable, and therefore alternative production methods must be sought. It has been shown that algae accumulate supplements, such as the high-value compound astaxanthin. The goal of our project is to optimize the amounts of astaxanthin produced in large-scale algae cultures, by varying growth conditions and measuring the resulting astaxanthin concentrations. To this end, the intern will take samples from cultures at the facility of the industrial partner, and analyze their chemical composition in the laboratory of the university partner. The industry partner will benefit through the immediate feed-back of chemical information, enabling rapid optimization of growth conditions and thus maximizing astaxanthin yields for commercial production.

Lucas Busta
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Reinhard Jetter