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School of Chemical Engineering
Engineering North Building
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005

Telephone: +61 8 8313 5446

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Micro-algal Biotechnology Group




The objective of the Microalgal Biotechnology Group is to further the understanding of the ecology of microalgae. This will assist with the development of commercial-scale microalgal culturing techniques for the production of bioactive compounds, aquaculture feed, fine chemicals, and renewable fuels. Additionally, environmental applications such as CO2 bioremediation, control of excessive algal growth and development of management strategies for water supply managers are investigated. The Microalgal Biotechnology Group is a part of a national research group (BEAM), which focuses on photosynthetic light utilisation efficiency and carbon fixation, chlorophyll fluorescence, biochemistry of secondary metabolites, molecular biology and photo-bioreactor design and engineering.


The School of Chemical Engineering has established the Microalgal Biotechnology Research group with the following aims:

  • To conduct world-class research in microalgal biotechnology, through the consolidation of ideas, experience and expertise.
  • To establish links with international research organisations and to encourage joint research
  • To promote exchange of students and researchers


Research Areas & Projects

  • Analysis and classification of antimicrobial components produced by microalgae and cyanobacteria
  • Aspects of a cyanobacteria photobioreactor,
  • Modelling, biodegradable plastic
  • Production of poly-b -hydroxybutric acid from cyanobacteria
  • Influence of photoperiod distribution on the growth and biochemical composition of cyanobacterium Synechococcus PCC 7002
  • Annular photobioreactor design
  • Heterotrophic growth of microalgae for aquaculture
    • Proximate biochemical composition, high cell density, Cyclotella cryptica
  • Determination of growth rate and tolytoxin production from selected cyanobacteria cultures.
  • Economic evaluation on the heterotrophic growth and downstream processing costs of microalgae cells/metabolites
    • Commercial ventures, large scale.
  • Cryopreservation of microalgae cultures
    • DMSO, glycerol, methanol


  • Gas chromatograph
  • CHN analyser
  • Bomb calorimeter
  • UV/Vis. spectrophotometer
  • Atomic absorption spectrophotometer
  • Culture facilities (i.e. Mixers, shakers, Growth cabinet for the control of atmosphere, and various bioreactors (1L -50L)
  • Various strains of Microalgae and Cyanobacteria including:
    • Synechococcous sp PCC 7002
    • Microcystis aeruginosa
    • Anabanea cylindrica
    • Cyclotella cryptica UTEX 1269
    • Synechocystis sp PCC 6803

Useful Links

Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA)
Australian Society for Limnology
Biotechnological and Environmental Applications of Microalgae (BEAM)
CSIRO Microalgae Research Centre
World Culture Centres