Microalgae are microscopic photosynthetic organisms that are central to a sustainable future. They convert light energy into chemical energy through photosynthesis and use this to produce organic compounds from inorganic substances such as CO2 and water. This process is essential for their growth and plays a crucial role in the Earth’s carbon and oxygen cycle.
The two-phase process of microalgal photosynthesis
The photosynthesis of microalgae essentially consists of two phases: the light-dependent reactions and the Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle (CBB). In the light-dependent phase, microalgae capture photons with the help of special pigments organised in photosystems. This captured energy is then converted into ATP and NADPH, which drive the CBB cycle. This cycle harnesses these molecules to bind CO2 into organic compounds that are important building blocks for microalgal growth.