Sammy Boussiba - Head
The overall aim of research in the Microalgal Biotechnology
Laboratory (MBL) is to develop the biotechnology involved
in mass production of microalgae for various commercial
purposes, utilizing the high temperature, brackish or
sea water, and solar irradiance that abound year round
in the desert.
Research in our group is targeted to the following
topics: Search for natural products with particular
interest in the red pigment astaxanthin used in aquaculture,
and polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly arachidonic
and eicosapentaenoic acids, used in infant nutrition
as well as for various pharmaceutical preparations.
We study their biosynthesis and their productivity in
the laboratory as well as in mass cultures outdoors.
Another field of investigation concerns studying the
limiting factors governing biomass production in outdoor
culture. Special emphasis is given to the effect of
high light and its interaction with other environmental
limitations. The potential applications of N2-fixing
cyanobacteria is also receiving attention: Research
is focused on the application of N2-fixing cyanobacteria
as biological vectors to encounter environmental problems.
Our research efforts include work on developing suitable
photobioreactors for mass cultivation of photoautotrophic
microorganisms. Our premise is that once efficient photobioreactors
are available, microalgal biotechnology will assume
its full, promising potential.