Click here for more information about Algenuity
Click here for more information about Liqofluxphenometrics515R1
Visit cricatalyst.com!Evodos Separation Technology

Research

Advancing from lab to industrial algae production

March 22, 2015
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Prof. Bafna and his research team monitored the prokaryotic and eukaryotic composition of an algae pond in San Diego over the course of a year.

Prof. Bafna and his research team monitored the prokaryotic and eukaryotic composition of an algae pond in San Diego over the course of a year.

Computer Science and Engineering Professor at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Vineet Bafna was on the roster of experts who spoke at Green Revolution 2.0. The symposium, March 12-13 in the Qualcomm Institute, was organized by the California Center for Algal Biology and the Center for Food and Fuel for the 21st Century (FF21). Bioinformatics expert Bafna addressed “Ecology of Open Algae Ponds for the Production of Biofuels,” noting that algae are great feedstocks for biofuels and other products, but the challenge is to get yield at low cost.

Green Revolution 2.0 refers to the observation that the first green revolution, beginning in the 1940s, focused agricultural scientists on saving more than a billion people worldwide from starvation by developing high yielding varieties of crops, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, improved irrigation practices and better land management. Now scientists are confronted with how to feed and provide fuel for countries such as India, Brazil, Mexico and China, which are not only projected to dramatically expand their populations in the decades ahead, but have rapidly developing economies that will require an exponential increase in fuel and food. What the world needs to satisfy those demands, say many scientists, is a second Green Revolution.

UCSD Computer Science and Engineering professor Vineet Bafna

UCSD Computer Science and Engineering professor Vineet Bafna

In principle, microalgae may produce between 10 and 100 times more oil per acre than traditional crops, but that has not been achieved in an industrial setting. “There is a general understanding in ecology that diversity is good for productivity, and that precept might be useful for industrial production,” said Bafna. “But we don’t know that these ecological ideas can work in an industrial setting.”

To test his hypothesis, Bafna’s team did a year-long experiment in which they monitored the prokaryotic and eukaryotic composition of an algae pond using genome sequencing to assess the taxonomic composition and diversity in the pond. In addition to genomic sampling, they used phenotyping to gauge various measures of pond health.

“We managed to optimize productivity of biomass over the course of a year,” says Bafna. “Our results strongly suggest that diversity is important for pond productivity, and even in a managed setting, open ponds behave like natural ecosystems.”

The team’s results, as Bafna explained to the FF21 annual conference, indicate that algal diversity promotes production, and that understanding the ecology of open algae ponds for the production of biofuels is critical to managing their output of biomass energy and other products. The findings hold out hope that microalgae could one day fulfill its theoretical range of producing from 10 to 100 times more oil per acre than traditional crops.

The study was funded by NSF and carried out in a partnership with FF21 director Stephen Mayfield and Biological Sciences professor Jonathan Shurin (both from UC San Diego). Bafna also acknowledged collaborators at Sapphire Energy, Life Technologies and SDSU.

More Like This…

HOME A.I.M. Archives

Copyright ©2010-2015 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Kuo Chia-erh reports for Taipei Times that Taiwan Cement Corp, the nation’s leading cement supplier, has announced plans to expand its microalgae farm, which produces ast...
Benedict O’Donnell writes in the EU Research and Innovation magazine, Horizon, about research being developed on seaweed as a biological, environmentally friendly, sustai...
Global Algae Innovations, with headquarters in San Diego, California, and cultivation/production facilities in Lihue, Hawaii, have introduced a new algae harvesting syste...
Algatechnologies Ltd (Algatech), of Kibbutz Ketura, Israel, has become part of the FoodConnects consortium, as winner of a pan-European competition for the Food4Future pr...
Nicolas Sainte-Foie writes for Labiotech.eu about French startup Algopack manufacturing bio-based plastics made from brown algae. Founded by Rémy Lucas in 2010 and manage...
Discovering which algae species is best suited to make biofuel is no small task. Researchers have tried to evaluate algae in test tubes, but often find lab results don’t ...
Joy Lanzendorfer reports for NPR that, as seaweed continues to gain popularity for its nutritional benefits and culinary versatility, more people are taking up seaweed fo...
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii-based Cellana, Inc., a leading developer of algae-based products for sustainable nutrition and energy applications, and Living Ink Technologies of Den...
Sarah Karacs reports for @CNNTech that Japanese firm Euglena has been cultivating a type of algae for use in food and cosmetics. But it sees a range of other potential us...
The genome of the fuel-producing green microalga Botryococcus braunii has been sequenced by a team of researchers led by a group at Texas A&M AgriLife Research. The r...
Diane Stopyra writes in Salon.com that a growing number of coastal states around the country are undertaking large-scale seaweed farming projects. While farms are underwa...
The recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) of three projects to receive up to $8 million, aimed at reducing the costs of producing algal biofuels and ...