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Microorganisms for Sustainable Biofuel Production

White gloved-fingers holding a string of small vials containing green media with wells and petri dishes with plants on a table.

Energize your research on renewable fuels

The finite nature of fossil fuels has led to an increased interest in the production of alternative fuels that renewable. Biofuels meet this need as they are produced from renewable sources such as sugarcane, corn, soybeans, canola oil, animal fats, lignocellulosic byproducts, and algae. Two common biofuels in use are bioethanol and biodiesel. Bioethanol is an alcohol that is commonly made by fermenting biomass high in carbohydrates (eg, sugarcane, corn) using microorganisms such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Biodiesel is generally made from animal fats, vegetable oils, or recycled waste oils from restaurants. 

Many microbial species can naturally generate oils as preferred raw material for biodiesel production. These microbial-produced oils can be easily scaled up and are sustainable. Further, lignocellulose is the structural backbone of every plant and is one of the most abundant materials on this planet; many fungi can break down lignocellulosic material into simple sugars that can be fermented into bioethanol. Microorganisms such as algae can be employed for photosynthetic conversion of atmospheric carbon dioxide into high-energy chemicals for biofuel products. Their ability to produce biofuels can also be further optimized and enhanced through genetic engineering. Another important advantage of using microorganisms for biofuel production is that they require minimal resources; microalgae, for example, can be grown on non-arable lands using water that is unsuitable for irrigation (eg, wastewater, salt water, brackish water).

To support research on the generation of alternative fuels, ATCC offers a variety of microbial strains with potential biofuel production capabilities. Explore our collection of algae, bacteria, and fungi below to get started.

Illustration of a flask with media in it made up of tiny green plants, standing up on a wooden table.

Achieve sustainable production of complex biochemicals

Chemical compounds have numerous applications across the food, energy, agricultural, and pharmaceutical industries. Discover how microorganisms can be used for the sustainable production of commercially and clinically valuable metabolites.

Learn more about microbial bioproduction

Get expert tips on propagating protists

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