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The commercial potential of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, a nitrogen-fixing edible cyanobacterium

Scoglio, GD; Jackson, HO; Purton, S; (2024) The commercial potential of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, a nitrogen-fixing edible cyanobacterium. Journal of Applied Phycology 10.1007/s10811-024-03214-0. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) is a Gram-negative nitrogen-fixing freshwater filamentous cyanobacterium with a rich nutritional profile that is approved for human consumption by both the Food and Drug Administration and the European Food and Safety Authorities. It has a high protein content (60-70%) and contains numerous vitamins, minerals and trace elements together with several high-value compounds with nutraceutical properties, such as C-phycocyanin and β-phenylethylamine. 500-1000 t of AFA dry biomass are currently wild harvested from natural blooms that occur seasonally in Klamath Lake, Oregon, USA, and distributed as a nutritional supplement worldwide. The requirements and unreliability of wild harvesting, owing to the dependence of AFA growth on environmental conditions and potential contamination by microcystin toxins, threaten the availability of biomass supply and restricts commercial expansion. In this review we propose AFA cultivation in open ponds or closed photobioreactors to obtain a reliable production of unialgal biomass to resolve the supply issue and enhance AFA as a feedstock for specific high-value by-products. Furthermore, we explore potential strategies for maximising overall yield and seasonal robustness by using a synergistic combination of cultivation and wild harvesting. Controlled AFA cultivation would also facilitate the use of genetic manipulation to generate bespoke strains with improved commercial applications, such as increasing the cyanobacterium’s nitrogen-fixation rate to enhance its value as a biofertiliser. Ultimately, realising the untapped biotechnological potential of AFA requires a better understanding of its fundamental biology, robust methodologies for laboratory and large-scale cultivation, and the development of AFA-specific genetic engineering techniques.

Type: Article
Title: The commercial potential of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, a nitrogen-fixing edible cyanobacterium
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10811-024-03214-0
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10811-024-03214-0
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Structural and Molecular Biology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10190526
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