Making plastics and omega-3 in space

Making plastics and omega-3 in space

John Wenz reports in Popular Mechanics that Dr. Mark Blenner, a research group leader at Clemson University, is developing a smart way for future deep space explorers to recycle their bodily waste into nutritional supplements to keep them alive and even create useful building materials to keep the ship up and running…

The potential in your Euglena pond

The potential in your Euglena pond

Scientists at the John Innes Centre, in Norwich, England, have discovered that Euglena gracilis, the single cell algae that inhabits most garden ponds, has a whole host of new, unclassified genes that can make new forms of carbohydrates and natural products. Even with the latest technologies, sequencing the DNA…

Sandia improving algae nutrient recycling

Sandia improving algae nutrient recycling

Nitrogen and phosphate nutrients are among the biggest costs in cultivating algae for biofuels. Sandia National Laboratories molecular biologists Todd Lane and Ryan Davis have shown they can recycle about two-thirds of those critical nutrients, and aim to raise the recycling rate to close to 100 percent…

Algal carbon capture pilot in Taiwan

Algal carbon capture pilot in Taiwan

Tang Chia-ling and Jake Chung write in the Taipei Times that an inter-university research team in Taiwan has developed a microalgae-based carbon capture technology and established the nation’s largest pilot microalgae farm at a university in the city of Tainan, in hopes of helping the nation conserve energy…

Gently stressing algae for higher lipids

Gently stressing algae for higher lipids

Some algae like Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (or “Chlamy,” as it’s known to its large research community) produce energy-dense oils or lipids when stressed, and these lipids can then be converted into fuels. However, researchers walk a fine line in not killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, in this case, stressing…

Bigelow, Ole Miss pact on algal research, commercialization

Bigelow, Ole Miss pact on algal research, commercialization

Bigelow Laboratory, of East Boothbay, Maine, and the University of Mississippi have formed a five-year Strategic Inter-Institutional Partnership Agreement for collaborative research and commercialization initiatives. The collaboration is making progress on identifying new compounds with anti-microbial…

SAMS scientists search for high oil content algae

SAMS scientists search for high oil content algae

Using a newly devised technique, researchers at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) have examined microalgae strains in the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa (CCAP) – an internationally important algal store based at SAMS in Oban, Scotland – to find out which ocean-based strains…

Algae molecules mined for new sunscreens

Algae molecules mined for new sunscreens

Melissae Fellet reports in Chemical & Engineering News that new materials containing ultraviolet-absorbing molecules found in algae and reef-fish mucus could serve as nontoxic, biocompatible sunscreens. The photostable materials could be used in cosmetics or as UV-protective coatings…

Australian LCA shows potential for algal biofuels

Australian LCA shows potential for algal biofuels

In a recent study by Bojan Tamburic and Arunima Malik, published in The Conversation, algae biofuels were put under the cost-benefit microscope, to assess the viability of developing a full-scale algae biofuel industry in Australia. A hybrid life-cycle assessment (LCA) was used, which aims to evaluate…

Plant light sensors evolved from algae

Plant light sensors evolved from algae

The light-sensing molecules that tell plants whether to germinate, when to flower and which direction to grow were inherited millions of years ago from ancient algae, finds a new study from Duke University. The findings are some of the strongest evidence yet refuting the prevailing idea that the ancestors of early plants…

Feeding cattle with post lipid extracted microalgae

Feeding cattle with post lipid extracted microalgae

Livestock scientists see microalgae’s potential as a sustainable, high-energy feedstuff as well as a protein supplement. Among those scientists are Dr. Megan Van Emon, Assistant Professor at Montana State University, Dr. Daniel Loy, Professor of Animal Science at Iowa State University and Dr. Stephanie Hansen…

Ocean algae seem fit for climate change

Ocean algae seem fit for climate change

Scientists have been investigating the likely future impact of changing environmental conditions on ocean phytoplankton, which forms the basis of all the oceans’ food chains, is important for absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and generates much of the oxygen needed to sustain life on Earth…

New Algae Biomass Research Center for Japan

New Algae Biomass Research Center for Japan

In Japan, the Algae Biomass Energy System Development Research Center, headed by Professor Makoto Watanabe, was established at the University of Tsukuba on July 1. The new organization’s duties include fundamental research and empirical studies on algae biomass and…

Seaweed as a sustainable feedstock of the future

Seaweed as a sustainable feedstock of the future

Studies conducted by EnAlgae partners in Ireland, France and Belgium point the way to seaweed being a viable and sustainable feedstock for the future in North West Europe (NWE). This is the conclusion of a new paper entitled “Comparative environmental life cycle assessment of two seaweed cultivation…

UT wins $50K for algal bio-chemistry research

UT wins $50K for algal bio-chemistry research

The University of Toledo (UT) will receive $50,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support research into commercial development of an innovative method developed at UT to source specific chemicals from algae. The lipids extracted from algae through this method could be used…

Discovering what gives algae its scent

Discovering what gives algae its scent

The Times of Israel reports that Israeli researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot say they have identified an enzyme in ocean algae responsible for producing the scent of the sea. While scientists have long known that the familiar smell is caused by the molecule dimethylsulfide (DMS), which algae produce…

EnAlgae research on algae’s sustainability

EnAlgae research on algae’s sustainability

Two research papers recently published by EnAlgae scientists point to real potential advantages in using algae as a feed ingredient and as a wastewater treatment, but only with further improvements in algal technology. The first paper is an environmental sustainability analysis of a protein-rich…

Converting algal squalene to transportation fuels

Converting algal squalene to transportation fuels

A new method of converting squalene – which is produced by microalgae – to gasoline or jet fuel, has been developed by the Japanese research group of Prof. Keiichi Tomishige and Dr. Yoshinao Nakagawa from Tohoku University’s Department of Applied Chemistry, and Dr. Hideo Watanabe from the University…

SBC extends algae research with Mitsubishi in Borneo

SBC extends algae research with Mitsubishi in Borneo

The Borneo Post reports that Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) and Mitsubishi Corporation have signed an agreement to move into the next phase of a strategic collaboration on microalgae research and industrial biotechnology, established in 2012. The SBC-Mitsubishi partnership will continue…

Marine bacteria boost growth of diatoms

Marine bacteria boost growth of diatoms

University of Washington oceanographers have found that diatoms — the intricately patterned single-celled algae that exist throughout the world’s oceans — grow faster in the presence of bacteria that release a growth hormone known to benefit land plants. The study, published online May 27 in Nature, uses genetic and…

ABU study considers commercializing algae in Lebanon

ABU study considers commercializing algae in Lebanon

Ned Whalley reports for Lebanon’s Daily Star that scientists from the American University of Beirut (AUB) have released the results of a three-year study on the potential commercial uses of Lebanon’s coastal microalgae, citing possible applications in medicine, agriculture, nutrition, and as a renewable…

Algae cleaning wastewater in India

Algae cleaning wastewater in India

SciDev.Net’s South Asia desk reports that Indian scientists working on producing biofuel from algae cultured in municipal wastewater are enthused by the findings of a recent study conducted at the biotechnology department of Rice University, in Houston, Texas, demonstrating that strains of algae were capable…

Scientists find new DNA mod in algae

Scientists find new DNA mod in algae

Scientists at the University of Chicago, Harvard University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have described the surprising discovery and function of a new DNA modification in insects, worms and algae. Common DNA modifications occur through methylation, a chemical process that can dramatically change gene expression…

Understanding dinoflagellate bioluminescence

Understanding dinoflagellate bioluminescence

Algae “red tide” events often create dazzling nighttime light shows of blue-green bioluminescence resulting from the force generated by breaking waves. While many mysteries remain on how such red tide blooms emerge, marine biologists are now making progress in decoding the mechanisms that trigger bioluminescence…

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