Employment of microalgae for biotechnological applications

The students will be involved in experiments aimed at increasing the yields of microalgae-derived high-added value products (oils, flours) from different species, tuning physical and nutritional parameters affecting growth.

The main aims of this research are:

  1. optimising oil production in marine algae, and
  2. obtaining algal flours with high protein and/or lipid content,

in order to use these products as fish feed or feed supplements. Oil composition will be also evaluated through qualitative or – if possible – quantitative analyses to test its potential also as component of cosmetic/cosmeceutical products.

This training internship will allow the students to become familiar with several analytical techniques, such as:

  • cell counts,
  • single-cell isolation of microalgae from seawater samples,
  • molecular identification (DNA extraction, PCR amplification, sequencing and gene analyses to identify algal species/genders),
  • culture media preparation, growth and maintenance of monospecific cultures on laboratory scale (20 mL- 10 L),
  • cell harvesting,
  • determination of protein, carbohydrate and lipid (gravimetric analysis, thin layer chromatography) content inside biomass,
  • gene expression analyses with particular attention on genes involved in lipid metabolism,
  • determination of nutrient (nitrates, phosphates, silicates) content and their consumption rate during culture growth.


Language requirements: 
Specific competences required : 
Safety issues: 
Students will use organic solvents and acids.
Accommodation possibilities : 
No institutional accomodation is available, but a list of possible lodging is provided through our Secretary and resident students also offer help to their colleagues. 300 euros per month for one room in a shared apartment should be considered
Additional costs to be covered by the student: