Physiological tolerance and stoichiometric potential of cyanobacteria for hydrocarbon fuel production

Jari Kämäräinen, Henning Knoop, Natalie J. Stanford, Fernando Guerrero, M. Kalim Akhtar, Eva Mari Aro, Ralf Steuer, Patrik R. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Cyanobacteria are capable of directly converting sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into hydrocarbon fuel or precursors thereof. Many biological and non-biological factors will influence the ability of such a production system to become economically sustainable. We evaluated two factors in engineerable cyanobacteria which could potentially limit economic sustainability: (i) tolerance of the host to the intended end-product, and (ii) stoichiometric potential for production. Alcohols, when externally added, inhibited growth the most, followed by aldehydes and acids, whilst alkanes were the least inhibitory. The growth inhibition became progressively greater with increasing chain-length for alcohols, whilst the intermediate C6 alkane caused more inhibition than both C3 and C11 alkane. Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 was more tolerant to some of the tested chemicals than Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942, particularly ethanol and undecane. Stoichiometric evaluation of the potential yields suggested that there is no difference in the potential productivity of harvestable energy between any of the studied fuels, with the exception of ethylene, for which maximal stoichiometric yield is considerably lower. In summary, it was concluded that alkanes would constitute the best choice metabolic end-product for fuel production using cyanobacteria if high-yielding strains can be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 30 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cyanobacteria
  • Fuel
  • Hydrocarbon
  • Stoichiometric potential
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


Dive into the research topics of 'Physiological tolerance and stoichiometric potential of cyanobacteria for hydrocarbon fuel production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this