Strategies and advances in the pretreatment of microalgal biomass

Ranjna Sirohi, Sabeela Beevi Ummalyma, Narashans Alok Sagar, Pooja Sharma, Mukesh Kumar Awasthi, Prarabdh C. Badgujar, Aravind Madhavan, Reshmy Rajasekharan, Raveendran Sindhu, Sang Jun Sim, Ashok Pandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Modification of structural components, especially the cell wall, through adequate pretreatment strategies is critical to the bioconversion efficiency of algal biomass to biorefinery products. Over the years, several physical, physicochemical, chemical and green pretreatment methods have been developed to achieve maximum productivity of desirable by-products to sustain a circular bioeconomy. The effectiveness of the pretreatment methods is however, species specific due to diversity in the innate nature of the microalgal cell wall. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the most notable and promising pretreatment strategies for several microalgae species. Methods including the application of stress, ultrasound, electromagnetic fields, pressure, heat as well as chemical solvents (ionic liquids, supercritical fluids, deep eutectic solvents etc.) have been detailed and analyzed. Enzyme and hydrolytic microorganism based green pretreatment methods have also been reviewed. Metabolic engineering of microorganisms for product specificity and lower inhibitors can be a future breakthrough in microalgal pretreatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-75
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov 20

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was also supported by “ Carbon to X Project ” ( #2020M3H7A1098295 ), the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT, Republic of Korea and a grant from the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) ( #20172010202050 ).

Funding Information:
N. Alok Sagar would like to thank the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for providing financial support in the form of Senior Fellow in Food Safety and Nutrition (SFFaN), Biological Group, under the national project NetSCoFAN.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Deep eutectic solvents
  • Electromagnetic treatment
  • Green pretreatment
  • Ionic liquids
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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