Genetic Engineering Strategies for Euglena gracilis and Its Industrial Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals: A Review

Ryo Harada, Toshihisa Nomura, Koji Yamada, Keiichi Mochida, Kengo Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The sustainable development goals (SDGs) adopted at the 2015 United Nations Summit are globally applicable goals designed to help countries realize a sustainable future. To achieve these SDGs, it is necessary to utilize renewable biological resources. In recent years, bioeconomy has been an attractive concept for achieving the SDGs. Microalgae are one of the biological resources that show promise in realizing the “5F”s (food, fiber, feed, fertilizer, and fuel). Among the microalgae, Euglena gracilis has the potential for achieving the “5F”s strategy owing to its unique features, such as production of paramylon, that are lacking in other microalgae. E. gracilis has already been produced on an industrial scale for use as an ingredient in functional foods and cosmetics. In recent years, genetic engineering methods for breeding E. gracilis have been researched and developed to achieve higher yields. In this article, we summarize how microalgae contribute toward achieving the SDGs. We focus on the contribution of E. gracilis to the bioeconomy, including its advantages in industrial use as well as its unique characteristics. In addition, we review genetic engineering-related research trends centered on E. gracilis, including a complete nuclear genome determination project, genome editing technology using the CRISPR-Cas9 system, and the development of a screening method for selecting useful strains. In particular, genome editing in E. gracilis could be a breakthrough for molecular breeding of industrially useful strains because of its high efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number790
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - Jul 14 2020


  • CRISPR-Cas9
  • Euglena gracilis
  • SDGs
  • bioeconomy
  • genetic engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Histology
  • Biomedical Engineering


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