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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details

Abedi, Sepideh, Astaraei, Fatemeh Razi, Ghobadian, Barat, Tavakoli, Omid, Jalili, Hassan, Chivasa, Stephen & Greenwell H. Chris (2019). Bioenergy Production Using Trichormus variabilis - A review. Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining 13(5): 1365-1382.

Author(s) from Durham


Fossil‐fuel processing and consumption contaminates air, soil, and water resources through the release of hazardous chemicals. The harnessing of renewable energy resources and development of sustainable technologies have become prime targets of research and increased investment to protect the environment. The use of bio‐based feedstocks in energy production provides a valuable pollution‐curbing pathway with sustainability credentials, especially when wastewater is used to provide the nutrient requirements. The filamentous cyanobacterium Trichormus variabilis has attracted substantial attention from researchers due to its potential for dual industrial functions in bioenergy production and bioremediation. This species can use the power of sunlight energy efficiently to fix atmospheric CO2 and to generate valuable chemical compounds, such as carbohydrates and fatty acids, which can be converted to biofuels. As it grows in nutrient‐rich wastewater (industrial effluent) it can serve as a bio‐absorbant and replace costly chemical catalysts and nano‐materials traditionally used for the removal of nutrients and metals. However, no recent review has presented the potential for state‐of‐the‐art T. variabilis‐driven phycoremediation‐bioenergy production systems. This review suggests possible routes from phycoremediation to energy production as a strategy for developing the industrial application of T. variabilis. It brings important research results on this species together and highlights major related challenges and opportunities. It explores the current status of the use of algae in bioremediation and the production of liquid and gaseous fuels utilizing wild‐type and mutants of T. variabilis. Finally, key points underlying the potential for future research on optimization of robust technologies for supplying sustainable bioenergy using this organism are presented.