Harnessing the potential of microalgal species Dunaliella: A biofuel and biocommodities perspective
Dunaliella is a green microalgae genus that has been studied most significantly due to its ability to produce substantial amounts of industrial pigments, lipids, glycerol, vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Dunaliella's characteristic include the ability to survive in extreme saline conditions, tolerance to high temperatures, wastewater treatment, biofuel production, a unique production of secondary metabolites, and more, making this organism an ideal candidate for commercial use. Furthermore, one of the Dunaliella species, D. salina, has been used as a great workshop for the commercial production of β-carotene due to its simple growth requirements and excessive yield. This chapter deals with the various biotechnological and pharmaceutical applications of Dunaliella and various traits that need considerable attention, such as strain selection, optimal culture conditions, upstream, and downstream, to make the process economically feasible and commercially viable. Strain selection based on the presence of bioactives and biofuel capacity is elaborated. Furthermore, current challenges in commercial exploitation and future prospects are discussed. The involvement of this microbial resource in integrated biorefineries for the production of various value-added products and a better understanding of its status are discussed. This chapter would also highlight some novel strategies that can be implemented to harness this algae to its full potential.