Mark Hildebrand, leading algal biofuel scientist, passes away

Mark Hildebrand, leading algal biofuel scientist, passes away

Mark Hildebrand, a research molecular biologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, died Aug. 9 after a battle with cancer lasting more than four years. He was 59. Dr. Hildebrand was a leader of the national research effort to develop fuels from algae and…

How will ocean acidification affect seaweed?

How will ocean acidification affect seaweed?

Researcher Celso Hernández writes in ScienceTrends.com that the rise in temperature in the oceans affects marine life and ecosystems, but it is accompanied by another problem caused by an increase of CO2: ocean acidification. Atmospheric CO2 dissolves and reacts with seawater, forming the chemical compounds that…

Enzyme could help accelerate algal biofuel production

Enzyme could help accelerate algal biofuel production

Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology have homed in on an enzyme belonging to the glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) family as a promising target for increasing biofuel production from the red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae. Algae are known to store up large amounts of oils called triacylglycerols…

Polar marine diatoms clue scientists into changing climate

Polar marine diatoms clue scientists into changing climate

More than 40 researchers from around the world gathered in northwest Iowa last week to share their studies on single-celled algae organisms called polar marine diatoms. These organisms are the base of the food web in the polar regions and can reveal a lot about the Earth’s changing climate. The researchers spent the last…

Corals and algae go back to Jurassic Period

Corals and algae go back to Jurassic Period

Algae and corals have been leaning on each other since dinosaurs roamed the earth, much longer than had been previously thought, according to new research led by scientists at Oregon State University and Penn State. The findings, published in Current Biology, are a key advance toward a better understanding…

Find a new strain? NCMA wants to help.

Find a new strain? NCMA wants to help.

The National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA) has put out the word that they are looking to expand their algal strain collection for the betterment of science. “We are looking for unialgal micro- or macroalgae isolated strains to add to our collection. If you have unique culture(s) or strain(s) new to science…

LANL algae researchers searching for affordable fuel

LANL algae researchers searching for affordable fuel

Andy Stiny writes for the Santa Fe New Mexican that molecular biologist Amanda Barry and a team of algae researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) Bio-energy and Biome Sciences group are trying to determine whether one particular strain of algae can be produced at low cost and in short periods of time so that…

NMSU researchers mining energy from wastewater

NMSU researchers mining energy from wastewater

Tiffany Acosta writes for the (Las Cruces, NM) Sun-News that three years ago Catherine Brewer was asked to join a university collaboration on bioalgal energy. The assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at New Mexico State University, who specializes in biomass processing, accepted the…

Algae strain uses raw plants as carbon energy source

Algae strain uses raw plants as carbon energy source

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and partner institutions have provided the first published report of algae using raw plants as a carbon energy source. The research shows that a freshwater production strain of microalgae, Auxenochlorella protothecoides, is capable of directly degrading and…

How eating seaweed can lower cow methane

How eating seaweed can lower cow methane

Judith Lewis Mernit writes in e360.yale.edu that an experiment being conducted by animal science professor Ermias Kebreab at the University of California, Davis, is testing 12 Holstein cows in an experiment to reduce methane emissions from livestock by supplementing their diets with a specific type of seaweed…

Study: astaxanthin protects skin from sun damage

Study: astaxanthin protects skin from sun damage

A new randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial provides stronger evidence for the protective role of algal-derived astaxanthin against skin deterioration caused by ultraviolet (UV) light. The new study, published June 25, 2018, in the journal Nutrients, was conducted at the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Research…

UF/IFAS researcher to experiment with algae in space

UF/IFAS researcher to experiment with algae in space

Brad Buck at Southeast AG NET Radio Network reports that a University of Florida scientist will use the International Space Station to see if algae can help recycle carbon dioxide and eventually be used to help make plastics, resins and even food. Initially, researchers want to improve algae’s ability to use light to capture…

A new type of photosynthesis is discovered

A new type of photosynthesis is discovered

Hayley Dunning writes from the Imperial College of London that a new discovery has changed our understanding of the basic mechanism of photosynthesis and should rewrite the textbooks. It will also tailor the way we hunt for alien life and provide insights into how we could engineer more efficient crops that take advantage…

New algae techno-economic analysis model from NREL

New algae techno-economic analysis model from NREL

At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), we have used techno-economic analysis (TEA) to build a model for the production of algal biomass in large open ponds. This model allows us to determine the economies of scale that can reduce cost as the size of cultivation facilities (basically microalgae…

New Zealand funds leading-edge macroalgal research

New Zealand funds leading-edge macroalgal research

The New Zealand Government and the University of Waikato are investing $13 million in a new research program in Tauranga aimed at helping tackle some of the biggest issues facing New Zealand’s primary sector. The project, part of the Entrepreneurial Universities program administered by the Tertiary Education…

Making a clean, green sunscreen

Making a clean, green sunscreen

Yousong Ding, Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Florida, writes in The Conversation that, in his laboratory in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida, they are interested in combing the world for naturally occurring chemicals that have applications in health, agriculture and environment…

A new DNA editing toolkit for the alga Nannochloropsis

A new DNA editing toolkit for the alga Nannochloropsis

Over the past decade, the science of engineering genes has become much more precise. That goes especially for CRISPR, a set of tools to delete or edit genes in an organism’s DNA. Scientists are using CRISPR to understand how plants and animals work. They are also exploiting it to create new applications…

Algae-based fertilizer turns vegetable farming green

Algae-based fertilizer turns vegetable farming green

European regulations and consumer needs have expanded the market for food products labelled green. However, affordable technological tools to produce vegetables sustainably are not readily available. To compound the challenge, European vegetable suppliers have neither the knowledge…

Arctic phytoplankton are more resistant to climate change

Arctic phytoplankton are more resistant to climate change

Ocean acidification triggered by climate change seems to cause less harm to the Arctic phytoplankton, which is resistant to the changes in climate that affect the Arctic Ocean’s coastal waters, as reported in a study released by Canadian researchers and the German Alfred Wegener Institute in the journal…

Improving the production of biohydrogen and biochemicals

Improving the production of biohydrogen and biochemicals

Phys.Org reports that a joint study by the University of Turku and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has shown that the ability of photosynthesizing microbial cells to produce biohydrogen from solar energy can be markedly improved by attaching the cells to a transparent nanocellulose film. The method is…

Iridescent algae glow with their own “opals”

Iridescent algae glow with their own “opals”

Rainbow wrack (Cystoseira tamariscifolia) is a type of brown alga found in the Mediterranean Sea and off the Atlantic coast of Europe. In the water, these algae glow. And although there are many glimmering organisms that live in the water, such as bioluminescent jellyfish and lantern fish, most produce their own light…

Fossilized algae hold promise for improved food safety

Fossilized algae hold promise for improved food safety

Researchers have used fossilized algae to take a key step toward being able to more sensitively detect harmful contaminants in food. The findings are important because each year 48 million people get sick from tainted food, 128,000 end up in the hospital, and 3,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control…

Using algae to cut antibiotics in feed

Using algae to cut antibiotics in feed

French researchers have been exploring the potential of algae for boosting the immune systems of animals and reducing the use of antibiotics in livestock farming. Past studies have shown that the cell wall of macroalgae contains large quantities of sulphated polysaccharides. These have a range of biological properties, including…

Algae with Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage

Algae with Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage

The University of Hawaii at Hilo announced that in affiliation with Duke and Cornell Universities, researchers have authored a study that suggests making croplands more efficient through algae production could unlock an important negative emission technology to combat climate change. Their research, “Integrating Algae…

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