Microalgae initially gained attention for their ability to accumulate lipids that can be used for biodiesel production. However, with decades of research to improve the yields and with several failures of algal-biofuel
start-ups it became clear that this route was not economically viable at the time.
However, microalgae is a store of a variety of bioactive molecules such as pigments, polyunsaturated fatty acids, phycobiliproteins, and vitamins.
These bioactives are high value molecules and can be used for food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical applications which makes algae economically attractive.
Microalgae can also be used to treat waste water streams under mixotrophic cultivation and have recently gained great attention as bioremediation microbes, because of their potential to reduce potential
while producing biomass that can be used to produce various chemicals. Algae are also being researched for gaseous fermentations to produce high value chemicals and also for upgradation of biogas.