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Key note speaker

Sammy Boussiba

Sammy Boussiba, Microalgal Biotechnology Laboratory, Israel


About the speaker

Prof. Boussiba received his Ph.D. in 1981 from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, in Physiology and Biochemistry, studying phycocyanins from Spirulina. After postdoctoral studies at Cornell University, he rejoined the Microalgal Biotechnology Laboratory (MBL) at the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research (BIDR), BGU. His current research interests concern the utilization of microalgae for human health and environmental protection. Among his achievements are: unique development of biotechnology for the production of astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus biomass, and successful expression of BTI toxin genes into nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria for combating tropical diseases, which resulted in two commercial enterprises: a plant for the production of astaxanthin produced from Haematococcus pluvialis, and establishment of a start-up company “BioSan” involved in the commercialization of engineered cyanobacteria for mosquito biocontrol of pest diseases.

He was awarded "Doctor Honoris Causa" by the University of West Hungary. Between 2008-2011 he served as the President of the International Society of Applied Phycology (ISAP). In 2011 he was appointed a member of an Ad Hoc Committee appointed by the American National Academy of Sciences, to examine "Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels“. In 2014 he received from the ISAP the Distinguish Applied Phycology Award for his continued and outstanding contribution to this field of science. 


Microalgae are a promising source for various high value products and nutraceuticals: Beta-carotene from Dunaliella salina, astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis and Phycocyanins from Spirulina have gained major shares in the nutraceuticals and food additives markets. Additional processes for the production of high value products, e. g. commercial production of a nutraceutical fucoxanthin-EPA additive have recently been achieved. We will present key advances in the production and marketing of such natural pigment molecules, accompanied by recent market developments highlighting promising, though challenging market essentials. A simple process for preparing highly enriched phycocyanin extract has been recently described, permitting to rapidly enrich this valuable pigment with interesting market perspectives. Recent commercialization successes and a highly competitive production landscape for Spirulina biomass now also promise a major breakthrough in the use of phycocyanins. Industrial production of H. pluvialis astaxanthin in a two stage cultivation approach in large tubular PBRs was originally developed by MBL and deployed by AlgaTechnologies at Kibbutz Qetura, where growing amounts of high quality astaxanthin are being produced since 2002. A novel recently developed technology for the production of fucoxanthin and EPA from Phaeodactylum may now provide a breakthrough in the nutraceuticals market. Adequate biorefinery technologies for residual biomass, novel strains and production methods, and ever growing sustainability of microalgae cultivation can now significantly contribute towards the production of growing amounts of biomaterials by microalgae. This will offer opportunities to shifting increasing bioproducts production volumes into unproductive land using non-potable water, while reducing global resource depletion.

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