Microalgae-bacteria symbiosis in microalgal growth and biofuel production: a review

Shuo Yao, Shuxia Lyu, Yingfeng An*, Jingquan Lu, Claes Gjermansen, Andreas Schramm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Photosynthetic microalgae can capture solar energy and convert it to bioenergy and biochemical products. In nature or industrial processes, microalgae live together with bacterial communities and may maintain symbiotic relationships. In general interactions, microalgae exude dissolved organic carbon that becomes available to bacteria. In return, the bacteria remineralize sulphur, nitrogen and phosphorous to support the further growth of microalgae. In specific interactions, heterotrophic bacteria supply B vitamins as organic cofactors or produce siderophores to bind iron, which could be utilized by microalgae, while the algae supply fixed carbon to the bacteria in return. In this review, we focus on mutualistic relationship between microalgae and bacteria, summarizing recent studies on the mechanisms involved in microalgae–bacteria symbiosis. Symbiotic bacteria on promoting microalgal growth are described and the relevance of microalgae–bacteria interactions for biofuel production processes is discussed. Symbiotic microalgae–bacteria consortia could be utilized to improve microalgal biomass production and to enrich the biomass with valuable chemical and energy compounds. The suitable control of such biological interactions between microalgae and bacteria will help to improve the microalgae‐based biomass and biofuel production in the future.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)359-368
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Bacteria
  • Biofuel
  • Growth
  • Microalgae
  • Symbiosis

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