3 Biotech. 2022 Oct;12(10):260. doi: 10.1007/s13205-022-03327-8. Epub 2022 Sep 4.
Microalgae are microscopic algae in sizes ranging from a few micrometers to several hundred micrometers. On average, half of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by the photosynthetic process of microalgae, so the role of these microorganisms in the life cycle of the planet is very significant. Pharmaceutical products derived from microalgae and commercial developments of a variety of supplements extracted from them originate from a variety of their specific secondary metabolites. Many of these microalgae are a reservoir of unique biological compounds including carotenoids, antioxidants, fatty acids, polysaccharides, enzymes, polymers, peptides, pigments, toxins and sterols with antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic, anticoagulant, and anticancer properties. The present work begins with an introduction of the importance of microalgae in renewable fuels and biodiesel production, the development of healthy food industry, and the creation of optimal conditions for efficient biomass yield. This paper provides the latest research related to microalgae-derived substances in the field of improving drug delivery, immunomodulatory, and anticancer attributes. Also, the latest advances in algal biocompounds to combat the COVID-19 pandemic are presented. In the subject of cultivation and growth of microalgae, the characteristics of different types of photobioreactors, especially their latest forms, are fully discussed along with their advantages and obstacles. Finally, the potential of microalgae biomass in biotechnological applications, biofuel production, as well as various biomass harvesting methods are described.