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Microalgae

Microalgae are half-plant, half-animal single-cell species that contain two “powerhouses” that are vital for their growth:

  • Chloroplasts (which, in certain cases, can be lost and retrieved by endosymbiosis), which are where photosynthesis begins. Chloroplasts capture sunlight and fix CO2 in the form of starch, lipids, etc. They are the energy source for autotrophs (self-feeding organisms), i.e. plants.

  • Mitochondria, which are where cellular respiration begins and which transform all types of carbon into energy. Mitochondria are the energy source for heterotrophs (which feed off other organisms), i.e. animals.

As their cells contain both of these “engines”, microalgae are mixotrophic organisms that are able to feed by autotrophy (absorption of light) and heterotrophy (absorption of organic matter):

  • Thanks to their mitochondria and Fermentalg’s specialist expertise, microalgae in fermenters are able to multiply very rapidly into large quantities of biomass which is crucial for the cost-effective production of high quality molecules of interest.
  • Thanks to their chloroplasts and Fermentalg’s proprietary technology for breeding microalgae in predominantly-heterotrophic mixotrophic environment (in which Fermentalg is the world leader), all of the molecules of interest produced by the microalgae in fermenters can be fully exploited. As well as stimulating the production of molecules of interest that cannot be derived from mitochondria, chloroplasts also increase the mitochondrial yield.
The molecules of interest produced by microalgae are of significant industrial and commercial value, particularly within the nutritional, cosmetic, green chemistry and energy market sectors.


With between 200,000 and several million species, the biodiversity of microalgae is not only exceptional but also vastly underexploited since, to date, only 30,000 species have been examined in any detail. This wealth of types allows the synthesis of a very wide array of molecules of interest suited to numerous industrial applications. In fact, as each day goes by, Fermentalg continues to process new species to produce new molecules of interest.