On the Cover
Ongoing global endeavors to commercialize microalgal biofuels have expedited the application of multi-omics tools to gain molecular insights into the stress-induced lipid biosynthetic pathways and identify co-extractable high-value molecules (HMVs). While extracting these HMVs to their fullest from algal cells is challenging, identifying and quantifying phytochemicals of interest is a considerable step forward. In the March 2021 Issue of Biofuel Research Journal, a team of Indian and American researchers reported on a multi-omics analysis aimed at unraveling the ongoing metabolic tug-of-war between biomass and TAG accumulation during nitrogen-limitation (DOI: 10.18331/BRJ2021.8.1.4). Ten HVMs belonging to four biological classes: triacylglycerol (TAG), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), phytosterols, and terpenoids, were annotated using untargeted metabolomics. In particular, the study showed the accumulation of two different PUFA: 9(S)HpOTrE and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid in nitrogen-limitation conditions. Further, various nitrogen-limitation severity led to the accumulation of different TAG species. Overall, this study is the first to utilize high-throughput mass spectrometry-based metabolomics to investigate the accumulation of PUFAs in nitrogen-limitation conditions. PUFAs could be co-extracted with TAG to lower microalgal biodiesel production costs for more feasible commercialization. Cover art by BiofuelResJ. ©2021.