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Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology

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Coupling microalgae to fermentation effluents

Coupling the production of microalgae to waste fermentation effluents is a promising environmental biorefinery approach in which a partial digestion of organic waste material by bacteria renders it available to the microalgae in the form of volatile fatty acids, mostly acetate and butyrate. Since it is too costly to sterilize the effluents prior to the cultivation of microalgae, fermentation bacteria remain in the system. The research on this topic aims to reveal i) how the major substrates in waste fermentation effluents are used by algae and ii) the significance of alga/bacteria interactions in the effluents. By using ‘omics’ approaches, we can identify metabolic bottlenecks in the physiology of microalgae, which can help to develop more efficient and competitive technology with final products such as biofuel, fertilizer and animal feed.



Robert Van Lis