Published on Aug 29, 2015
Lecture 18: Photosynthetic Organisms and Animals (PDF notes)
This lecture covers photosynthetic organisms and animals. Photosynthetic organisms, like algae and plants, do not need to be fed sugar or kept in a low oxygen environment like fermentation microbes. They produce sugars using photosynthesis, and they do not need oxygen as much as they need carbon dioxide. Photosynthetic organisms can be high tech like algae used for producing fuels and oil, or low tech like canola and peanut plants used to produce vegetable oils.
Likewise, animals are in their own class of biomass because they require oxygen and can be fed complex forms of biomass that haven’t been converted into sugar. Mammals tend to produce oils in the form of fats which are often converted into oils after harvesting. Insects have long been used to produce chemicals and are quickly gaining interest as a source of oils as well. Like grains, animals tend to be overlooked in the bioenergy media. This is unfortunate because they will likely continue to play an increasing role in the biological conversion of biomass into useful chemicals and fuels.