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

Process

Increasing algae’s productivity via light regulation

November 7, 2013
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Photomicrograph of cyanobacterial mat from a California salt marsh. (Wayne Lanier/UC Berkeley)

Photomicrograph of cyanobacterial mat from a California salt marsh. (Wayne Lanier/UC Berkeley)

A“proof of concept” experiment described in the upcoming Dec. 2 issue of the journal Current Biology has shown that growing algae in constant light can dramatically boost the amount of valuable compounds that they can produce. The study found that when the biological clocks of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) were stopped in their daylight setting, the amount of several biomolecules that they were genetically altered to produce increased by as much as 700 percent.

“We have shown that manipulating cyanobacteria’s clock genes can increase its production of commercially valuable biomolecules,” said Carl Johnson, Stevenson Professor of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University, who performed the study with collaborators at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, MD and Waseda University in Tokyo. “In the last 10 years, we have figured out how to stop the circadian clocks in most species of algae and in many higher plants as well, so the technique should have widespread applicability.”

Professor Carl Johnson, of Vanderbilt University

Professor Carl Johnson, of Vanderbilt University

In 2004, Johnson was a member of the team that determined the molecular structure of a circadian clock protein for the first time. Subsequent work mapped the entire clock mechanism in cyanobacteria, which is the simplest bioclock found in nature. The researchers discovered that the clock consisted of three proteins: KaiA, KaiB and KaiC. Detailed knowledge of the clock’s structure allowed them to determine how to switch the clock on and off.

In the current study, the researchers discovered that two components of the clock, KaiA and KaiC, act as switches that turn the cell’s daytime and nighttime genes on and off. They have dubbed this “yin-yang” regulation. When KaiA is up-regulated (produced in larger amounts) and KaiC is down-regulated (produced in smaller amounts), the 95 percent of the cell’s genes that are active during daylight are turned on, and the 5 percent of the cell’s genes that operate during the night are turned off. However, when KaiC is up-regulated and KaiA is down-regulated, then the day genes are turned off and the night genes are turned on.

“As a result, all we have to do to lock the biological clock into its daylight configuration is to genetically up-regulate the expression of KaiA, which is a simple manipulation in the genetically malleable cyanobacteria,” Johnson said.

To see what effects this capability has on the bacteria’s ability to produce commercially important compounds, the researchers inserted a gene for human insulin in some of the cyanobacteria cells, a gene for a fluorescent protein (luciferase) in other cells and a gene for hydrogenase, an enzyme that produces hydrogen gas, in yet others. They found that the cells with the locked clocks produced 200 percent more hydrogenase, 500 percent more insulin and 700 percent more luciferase when grown in constant light than they did when the genes were inserted in cells with normally functioning clocks.

Coauthors of the study include Research Associate Professor Yao Xu, Postdoctoral Fellow Ximing Qin and Graduate Student Jing Xiong from Vanderbilt; Assistant Professor Philip Weyman and Group Leader Qing Xu from the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md., and Graduate Student Miki Umetani and Professor Hideo Iwasaki at Waseda University in Tokyo.

The research was funded by National Institute of General Medical Sciences grants GM067152 and GM088595, Department of Energy grant DE-FG36-05GO15027, Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science grants 23657138 and 23687002, the Asahi Glass Foundation and the Yoshida Scholarship Foundation.

More Like This…

HOME A.I.M. Archives

Copyright ©2010-2017 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.

Visit our 2017 International Reader’s Poll Platinum Sponsors

bigelow mbiolp_link sfcc

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Scientists at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire, have discovered that marine microalgae can completely replace the wild fish oil currently used to feed tilapia...
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...
In Australia, the New South Wales Deep Green Biotech Hub (DGBH) has been launched as an enabling incubator environment to foster the development of algae as a cost effect...
Tafline Laylin writes for Inhabitat.com about the elegant solution that Romanian designer Alexandru Predonu has conceived that uses solar energy to power a rotating desal...
Algae.Tec has announced that, with the completion of the US$1M injection by Gencore, their nutraceutical plant upgrade in Cummings, Georgia, is progressing ahead of sched...
If you’re a fan of the television show “Shark Tank”, you won't want to miss the episode that airs this Friday, November 18th 9:00-10:00 p.m. EST on ABC Television, when C...
Forbes is running an interview with Bren Smith, an Ashoka Fellow and the founder of GreenWave, an organization dedicated to restoring oceans, mitigating climate change an...
The Energy Department (DOE) has announced the selection of six projects for up to $12.9 million in federal funding, entitled, “Project Definition for Pilot- and Demonstra...
Researchers at Iowa State University, in Ames, Iowa, are developing technology, using algae, that improves the efficiency of wastewater reclamation. The system uses verti...
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...
Matt Stultz writes in MakeZine.com about Algix’ unique 3-D printing filament created with a combination of algae and Polylactic Acid (PLA) – a biodegradable thermoplastic...
Suzanne Michaels, writes for the Las Cruces Sun-News that big implications are resulting from what looks like a small algae research project using the City’s wastewater. ...