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

Research

Algal enzyme could improve photosynthesis efficiency

September 19, 2016 — by Sarah Yang
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Plant leaves expressing an algal gene are shown in violet. The gene restores the photoprotection capacity of the plant. Credit: Zhirong Li/UC Berkeley

Plant leaves expressing an algal gene are shown in violet. The gene restores the photoprotection capacity of the plant. Credit: Zhirong Li/UC Berkeley

For plants and algae that carry on photosynthesis, light can be too much of a good thing. On a bright, sunny day, a plant might only be able to utilize 20 percent or less of absorbed sunlight. The plant dissipates the excess light energy to prevent damage and oxidative stress, and a process called the xanthophyll cycle helps to flip the switch between energy dissipation and energy utilization.

But what if there were a way to tweak that cycle without harming the plant? Berkeley Lab plant biologists are asking that question in an effort to tap into that extra light energy to improve plant growth.

“By manipulating photoprotection in plants, it may be possible to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis, and one potential outgrowth of that is higher crop productivity,” said Krishna Niyogi, a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Division of Molecular Biophysics and Integrative Bioimaging and a UC Berkeley professor of plant and microbial biology. “This is a relatively new and underappreciated area of exploration when it comes to understanding and improving photosynthesis.”

The xanthophyll cycle involves the synthesis of a pigment called zeaxanthin – an antioxidant that gives corn its yellow color – from another pigment called violaxanthin. Violaxanthin de-epoxidase (VDE) is the key enzyme responsible for this process, which kicks into gear in the presence of excess light.

Dr. Niyogi and a postdoctoral researcher in his lab, Zhirong Li, recently identified a target in the photoprotection mechanism by studying the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, which is widely used as a model organism to study photosynthesis. The alga produced an enzyme called Chlorophycean VDE (CVDE) that was completely different from the other plant enzymes in the xanthophyll cycle.

To confirm whether this new enzyme performed the same role as the other xanthophyll enzymes, the researchers inserted the CVDE gene into mutant forms of algae and plants that do not produce zeaxanthin. They found that this CVDE enzyme successfully restored the photoprotective abilities of the algae and plants.

Notably, the CVDE protein in the algae is located in a completely different area of the cell – the stromal side of the thylakoid membrane – than its counterpart in plants. By analyzing its evolutionary history, the researchers found that CVDE most likely evolved from an ancient enzyme that was present in the common ancestor of green algae and plants.

“There are about 700 million years or more of evolutionary separation between the green algae group we studied and land plants,” said Dr. Li. “Despite this, the atypical CVDE protein we identified performs the same photoprotective function. This means that it may be possible to mix and match the regulatory components of light harvesting from different clades of photosynthetic organisms to fine-tune the efficiency of photosynthesis.”

Read More

More Like This…

HOME A.I.M. Archives

Copyright ©2010-2018 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.

twittertopbarlinks_eventstopbarlinks_requesttopbarlinks_archives

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
The GNT Group, a market leader in using algae as natural ingredients for color, has begun construction of an additional spirulina plant at its headquarters in Mierlo, the...
CBS Miami reports that protesters are demanding answers and action over the toxic mess in Florida — a poisonous algae bloom plaguing four counties now under a state of em...
Stavanger, Norway-based Skretting, a 100+ year-old leader in the manufacture and supply of aquaculture feeds for fish and shrimp, has announced that they are now offering...
Dan Wood, at the University of Connecticut, writes that assistant extension educator of marine aquaculture at UConn’s Avery Point Campus, Anoushka Concepcion, spoke about...
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...
Carl Zimmer writes in The New York Times about a team of Australian scientists studying how climate change will alter ecosystems – by using miniature ecosystems, called m...
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the selection of three projects to receive up to $8 million, aimed at reducing the costs of producing algal biofuels and...
Adoption of advanced technologies in various stages of natural astaxanthin production, such as microalgae harvesting, cultivation, extraction, and drying, have been major...
The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) reports that an international team has discovered an enzyme which allows microalgae to convert some of their fatty acid...
Sex self-destruction represents a fascinating new scientific mystery that includes climate chaos, ghost forests, temperature spikes, fierce storms, colossal nutrient coll...
Portuguese microalgae producer, Allmicroalgae Natural Products S.A., has recently begun production of Chlorella vulgaris and other microalgae species via fermentation, wh...
Ali Morris writes in dezeen.com that Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros have developed a bioplastic made from algae, which they believe could completely rep...