Researchers in Japan have discovered that starch in algae could be used to make pharmaceuticals.

While oil extracted from microalgae is being used to produce alternative jet fuels and biofuels, the leftover starch, until now overlooked, could also prove useful.

A team from the Tokyo Institute of Technology believes the commonly discarded algal residue could provide a carbon resource for chemicals in demand by a variety of industries.

The researchers, led by Sho Yamaguchi, will continue their work to better understand the processes that trigger starch production, something which could also help boost algal biomass production.