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Barbosa, Maria

Barbosa, Maria


Maria Barbosa, born in Luanda, Angola, in 1974. Ph.D. from: Wageningen University. Research Manager Microalgae at Wageningen University and Research Centre, Food & Biobased Research.

L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellow (1 September 2014 – 30 November 2014)

Microalgae: From Science to Business

Research Question

How to translate fundamental research into applied settings for the maximization of metabolites production by microalgae? This is an unexplored area of research, in which cellular processes need to be understood and integrated with processes and technology, providing the bridge between fundamental and applied research.

Project Description

Microalgae are considered one of the most promising feedstocks for sustainable supply of commodities for both food and non-food products. Many fundamental knowledge is presently being generated on understanding and controlling the production of compounds of interest. Redirection of metabolism for production of desired compounds can be done in the lab under very well defined conditions. Sustainable production of microalgae needs to take place outdoors using sunlight. This entails continuous changing conditions (e.g temperature and light intensity) making the translation from indoors experiments to outdoors very challenging, Translation of lab experiments and generated knowledge to outdoor conditions for the maximization of metabolites production is an essential step to realize the promises of microalgae as a feedstock in a biobased economy. This project will be used to identify the required synergies between fundamental and applied research.

Selected Publications

1) René B. Draaisma, René H. Wijffels, P.M. (Ellen) Slegers, Laura B. Brentner, Adip Roy, Maria J. Barbosa. Food commodities from microalgae. Current opinion in Biotechnology. 24:169-177.

2) Wijffels, R.H., Barbosa, M.J., 2010. An outlook on microalgal biofuels. Science 329:796-799


Maria Barbosa has written about her fellowship and NIAS stay: “Working without a watch: time and space for reflection” (unesco.nl)