go to http://www.aocs.org! Algaetech International — The Future is NowComplete Algae Monitoring System Visit  cricatalyst.com!Nexus — Leaders in Greenhouse Systems Integration

Research

ISU Researchers Pair Genes to Up Photosynthetic Carbon Conversion

November 21, 2011
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Iowa State University’s Martin Spalding

Iowa State University’s Martin Spalding is leading a team developing a genetic method to increase biomass in algae. Photo: Bob Elbert

Researchers at Iowa State University, in Ames, IA, are exploring the effects of controlling the expression of two algal genes that regulate the uptake of CO2 for photosynthesis. In the experiments performed under the direction of Martin Spalding, professor in the Department of Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology, the researchers noticed an increase in the algal biomass by 50 to 80 percent when these two genes were artificially expressed.

“The key to this (increase in biomass) is a combination of two genes that increase the photosynthetic carbon conversion into organic matter by 50 percent over the wild type under carbon dioxide enrichment conditions,” said Dr. Spalding.

In environments that have relatively low levels of CO2, two genes in algae—LCIA and LCIB—are expressed, or turned on, to help capture and then channel more carbon dioxide from the air into the cells to keep the algae alive and growing. However, when algae are in environments with high carbon dioxide levels, such as in soil near plant roots that are expiring carbon dioxide, the two relevant genes shut down because the plant is getting enough carbon dioxide.

“The process is similar to a car driving up a hill,” says Spalding. “The accelerator—these two genes—is pressed and the engine works hard to climb a hill. But when going down an incline, the driver often lets up on the accelerator since more gas isn’t needed—the genes shut down. The two genes are expressed—essentially keeping algae’s foot on the gas—even when they are in a carbon dioxide-rich environment and don’t need additional carbon dioxide.”

In experiments to get the algae type (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) to produce more biomass, Spalding first expressed LCIA and LCIB separately. Each indicated a 10 to 15 percent increase in biomass. When the two genes were expressed together, researchers were surprised to see the 50 to 80 percent biomass increase. “Somehow these two genes are working together to increase the amount of carbon dioxide that’s converted through photosynthesis into biomass by the algae under conditions where you would expect there would already be enough carbon dioxide,” said Spalding.

This research was funded in part by grants from the Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Energy, Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy.

Go to HOME Page

Copyright ©2010-2011 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission granted 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 the A.I.M. Archives

AIM interview ArchivesAlgae 101 ArchivesHot Products ArchivesInnovations ArchivesMoney ArchivesProcess ArchivesResearch ArchivesScale Up ArchivesThe Buzz Archives

FREE Algae News & Updates

Sign up to receive breaking A.I.M. updates! 

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
University of Adelaide researchers are using nanotechnology and the fossils of diatoms to develop a novel chemical-free and resistance-free way of protecting stored grain...
Biomass abounds on Earth, as forests, fields, sewage and seaweed. But only a small fraction, mostly human or agricultural waste, can be harvested without posing environme...
Algae.Tec Ltd has received its first purchase order from Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited (RIIHL), in connection with the arrangements announced on Ja...
Solazyme, Inc. has announced results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2013. “2013 was a year of great progress for Solazyme as we readied our first...
Valensa International and Contract Biotics have announced that Contract Biotics has started construction of an additional six acres of algae production units at the compa...
Algatechnologies (“Algatech”), Israel, has announced a more than 100% expansion of its production capacity of AstaPure® brand natural astaxanthin. This doubling of capaci...
Algae is being discussed at the heart of EXPO Milano 2015, the international event that has existed since 1851, spawning world shaping themes and icons, such as the Eiffe...
As the number of photobioreactors in an algae growing operation increases, there is a need for both autonomous control and monitoring of individual PBRs, as well as centr...
Students from three Arizona universities will demonstrate their algae research projects at an Innovation Showcase May 1, in Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Fitness C...
Algenist®, Solazyme’s anti-aging skincare brand featuring microalgae, has announced its launch in Nordstrom locations throughout the United States. The launch into Nordst...
A team of six University of Calgary researchers has been awarded funding for their project, Cost Effective Biotechnology for Carbon Capture and Re-Use, based on the conce...
Santa Fe Community College has been awarded a $50,000, SEED Infrastructure Grant from the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), for commercial ...
Algal oil represents one of the significant segments within the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) ingredients market. Specifically, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is ...
A new, outdoor system at the University of Dayton Research Institute has been producing a high volume of algae since its installation in the summer of 2013, even through ...
Four years after the first optimistic calculations, the experimental cultivation of algae at Wageningen University in the Netherlands appears to be meeting expectations. ...
The Guardian reports that Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), Canada-based Solarvest has created an inventive system utilizing a specific algal strain to grow and produce EPA ...
Starting in the early 70s, agencies in the former USSR invested more than 20,000 person-years of research and development to produce Bio-Algae Concentrates (BAC) that hel...
Algae manufacturer Cyanotech Corporation has announced implementing three major initiatives to improve Astaxanthin production at their Kailua Kona, Hawaii-based cultivati...