The introduction of tools to study, control or expand the inner-workings of algae has been slow to develop. Provided are embodiments of a molecular method based on guanidinium-rich molecular transporters (GR-MoTrs) for bringing molecular cargos into algal cells. The methods of the disclosure have been shown to work in wild-type algae that have an intact cell wall. Developed using Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, this method is also successful with less studied algae, including Neochloris oleoabundans and Scenedesmus dimorphus, thus providing a new and versatile tool for algal research and modification. The method of delivering a cargo compound to an algal cell comprises contacting an algal cell with a guanidinium-rich delivery vehicle comprising a guanidinium-rich molecular transporter (GR-MoTr) linked to a cargo compound desired to be delivered to the algal cell, whereby the guanidinium-rich molecular transporter can traverse the algal cell wall, thereby delivering the cargo compound to the algal cell.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with Government support under contract DE-ACO2-05CH11231 awarded by the Department of Energy, under contract CA31841 awarded by the National Institutes of Health, and under contract CA31845 awarded by the National Institutes of Health. The Government has certain rights in this invention.