Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Dinoflagellate phytotoxins exploitation

Project description

Industrial production of phytotoxins from microalgae culture

Dinoflagellates are microalgae that naturally produce a wide range of toxins. Only a small fraction of these toxins have been identified and proven to be efficient in different applications, including biopesticides, drug discovery, and food safety testing. The technology of microalgae culturing is poorly developed, resulting in a very high price of the products. French PLANKTOVIE developed a disruptive technology (soft mixer) that enables efficient dinoflagellate culture. The EU-funded Dinophyte project aims to demonstrate the industrial production capacity of dinoflagellate culture and obtain market analysis for the biopesticide, drug discovery, and food safety markets. The results of market and feasibility studies will be applied to build a comprehensive business plan.


Dinoflagellates are microalgae which produce a wide range of toxins. These toxins are mostly unknown (only 1% have been identified) but they have proven to be efficient in different market application: biopesticides, drug discovery and food safety testing. Biopesticides and drug discovery are seeking for new active compounds which may come from dinoflagellate toxins. Culture of dinoflagellates (and thus production of toxins) is not mastered by current technologies due to the extreme sensitivity to shearing forces of these algae. The current price of toxins isolated from dinoflagellates is very high (3 – 30 k€/ mg). Consequently, these toxins are poorly exploited as drug lead or biopesticides despite their renowned potential. PLANKTOVIE developed a disruptive patented technology (Soft mixer) which enable efficient dinoflagellate culture. A prototype has been developed and allows culture of dinoflagellate which are currently grown in static conditions due to their extreme shearing-forces sensitivity (and with very low production yield). This technology will be combined during the project with a carbonation membrane photobioreactor to increase the intake of CO2 in the culture. This should allow us to demonstrate the commercial production of 3 toxins isolated from dinoflagellates (production yields ranging from 3 to 24 g per year for a 200 L DINOPHYTE bioreactor).
Targeted markets are promising and in progress: Biopesticides : 3.5 bn€ ; food safety : 12 bn€ ; drug discovery :100 bn€ (worldwide by 2020). PLANKTOVIE received encouraging support from actors of these markets. The aim of the SME instrument phase 1 is to demonstrate the industrial production capacity of DINOPHYTE and to provide indepth knowledge of the markets. Market analysis will be performed for the biopesticide, drug discovery and food safety markets. The results of market study and feasibility study will be used to build a comprehensive market access strategy and business plan.

Call for proposal


See other projects for this call

Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
45 rue joliot curie hotel technologique de chateau gombert
13382 Marseille

See on map

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Bouches-du-Rhône
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 21 429,00