PERSPECTIVES ON MARINE PHYTOPLANKTON AS SOURCES OF NUTRITION AND BIOENERGY
Authors: Y. Li, J.G. Qin, A. S. Ball and R. B. Moore
Abstract: Marine phytoplankton cells are invisible to the human eye but they have important economic applications for humans. Through photosynthesis, phytoplankton are able to convert carbon dioxide and inorganic nutrients into usable organic compounds such as vitamins, protein, fatty acids and carbohydrates. With recent research progress in algal biotechnology, marine phytoplankton have become increasingly important as feedstocks for industrial processing applications due to their fast growth and their novel products. As a result, increasing numbers of entrepreneurs are exploring and investing in marine phytoplankton as sources of food additives, pharmaceuticals, therapeutics and bioenergy. This chapter reviews recent advances in the use of marine microalgae for these applications and explores their current status and their potential in the near term.