Food Waste Valorization by Microalgae

R. Yukesh Kannah, Chinnathambi Velu, J. Rajesh Banu, Kirsten Heimann, Obulisamy Parthiba Karthikeyan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In early twenty-first century, both developed and developing countries aim to avoid burning of fossil fuel in an effort to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and impacts on global warming. Microalgae are potential key players for tackling greenhouse gas emissions and for providing feedstock for renewable energy production. Microalgae utilize freely available solar radiation as an energy source to extract protons and electrons from water to ultimately convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into organic carbon manifested in the growth rates and biomass concentrations. The microalgal biomass consists of biopolymers (protein and carbohydrate), lipid and pigments, which provides a platform for producing value-added products or for utilization as renewable energy resources. However, carbon and nutrient requirements for their cultivation are major bottlenecks adding to the overall production costs. Alternatively, food waste could be used for cultivation of microalgae after suitable pretreatment to solubilize organic carbon polymers. In an integrated bio-refinery approach, harvested microalgal biomass, value-added products are extracted sequentially, with the leftover components (those that do not have a significant market value) to be used in energy generation through anaerobic digestion/fermentation processes. This chapter will provide an overview on food waste valorisation by and most suitable species of microalgae, a brief discussion on adopting various pretreatment techniques for solubilization of carbon from food waste for easy valorisation by microalgae.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWaste to Wealth
EditorsReeta Rani Singhania, Rashmi Avinash Agarwal, R. Praveen Kumar, Rajeev K Sukumaran
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-7431-8
ISBN (Print)978-981-10-7430-1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameEnergy, Environment, and Sustainability
ISSN (Print)2522-8366
ISSN (Electronic)2522-8374


  • Bio-refinery
  • Food waste
  • Microalgae
  • Pretreatment
  • Value products


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