Algae as a resource: Chemical tricks from the sea

The chemical process by which bacteria break down algae into an energy source for the marine food chain, has been unknown - until now. For the first time, is has been possible to clarify the biochemical function of the multitude of enzymes involved in this process. Now it becomes possible to use algae as a resource: they can be used for fermentations, to produce valuable types of sugar or, in the future, even bioplastics.