However, the enormous amount of arable land needed for production and the competition between their uses as food/feed and fuel present obstacles to the production of biofuels from crops.
    
These considerations have led to focus on microalgae as oil producers, researchers said.

"Biofuel production using photosynthetic organisms such as microalgae is one of the most promising approaches to generating sustainable energy," said lead scientist Dr Tsuyoshi Tanaka of the Division of Biotechnology and Life Science in the Institute of Engineering at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.
    
"However, the molecular functions of organisms such as oleaginous microalgae remain unclear, thus hampering efforts to improve productivity," Tanaka said.
    
Microalgae are tiny photosynthetic organisms found in both ocean water and freshwater. They grow quickly in liquid culture and can produce high levels of oils.

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