What Makes Our Microalgae Unique

Microalgae are the world’s original oil producers and the ancestors from which all plants have descended. After screening more than ten thousand microalgae strains, Solazyme researchers isolated a few truly unique strains on which we based our technology. Our main oil-producing microalgae strain, which is the basis for most of our products, was originally discovered over a century ago on the sap of a chestnut tree in Germany. It is naturally white, lives off of a wide variety of plant sugars and can grow without any light. Unlike many microalgae that commonly grow in ponds and rely on sunlight to grow, Solazyme’s microalgae can natively convert sugars directly into oils and other whole algal products in closed fermentation tanks, offering a highly efficient, consistent and contained production environment.

Responsible Innovation

Solazyme is committed to Developing its technology responsibly, with transparency and public engagement. Learn more about our Principles for Responsible Innovation and Engagement.

How We Make Our Oils


Solazyme’s technology is simple: we transform renewable, sustainable plant sugars into renewable oils using microalgae. Microalgae is the foundation of all plants and the original source of oil. It has the same oil producing machinery as all plants, giving it the ability to produce any kind of plant oil. Depending on the oil we want to make, we select the best microalgae for the job. Then we survey mother nature to select the best traits to place back into the microalgae so that we can make consistent, more nutritious and more sustainable oils in a matter of days.


Solazyme transforms renewable plant sugars into renewable oils, protein, and other ingredients. Fundamentally, we harness what the world has in abundance – plant sugars – to produce what society needs every day – oil, protein and other materials. Learn more about the feedstocks we use and the Sustainability profile of the oils we produce in Brazil here.


Our microalgae are grown in the dark in stainless steel fermentation tanks contained, just like those used to make beer and wine. We feed plant sugar and other nutrients to the microalgae and they grow full of oil in the fermentation tanks. Then, we remove the microalgae from the tanks and dry them.


Once the microalgae are removed from the fermentation tank, they are dried and pressed to release the oil, just like the process to make coconut and seed oils. The algae is separated from the oil, which then is refined and there is no algae mass remaining in the end oil product. The wide variety of oils that we produce are made ​​into many different products. Learn more about our products.

None of the leftover algae goes to waste. The remaining algae material is still full of beneficial carbohydrates, proteins and other micronutrients. It can be used in a wide range of products, including as a fuel source for energy generation.


Full Video of How We Make Our Oils


Microalgae. Macro Solutions. At Solazyme we transform microalgae, the smallest of organisms, into solutions for the worlds biggest problems.