Lower Plants

Authored by: Borowitzka Michael A.

Handbook of Bioenergy Crop Plants

Print publication date:  March  2012
Online publication date:  April  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439816844
eBook ISBN: 9781315099255
Adobe ISBN:


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The algae are an extremely diverse group of (mainly) photosynthetic organisms, ranging in size from approximately 1 µm for some picoplanktonic species to over 30 m in length for some of the large kelps. They are mainly aquatic, growing in fresh to hypersaline waters, but they are also found in soils and on many surfaces such as rocks, trees, and buildings. As photoautotrophs, algae use light energy to fix carbon dioxide (CO2) into sugars during photosynthesis, and these are then further metabolized. Algae are being explored and developed as a source of a range of renewable, CO2-friendly energy sources such as biodiesel, bioethanol, hydrogen, and methane (Chynoweth et al. 1987; Sheehan et al. 1998; Miyura 2002; Benemann 2004; Chisti 2007; Brennan and Owende 2010).

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