Click here for more information about Algenuity
Click here for more information about LiqofluxPhenometrics Buy 3 Get 1 Free
Visit cricatalyst.com!Evodos Separation Technology

Research

Making plastics and omega-3 in space

August 24, 2015
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Dr. Mark Blenner of Clemson University is using algae and CO2 to turn genetically engineered yeast into a factory for omega-3 supplements and raw 3D printing materials for space travel.

Dr. Mark Blenner of Clemson University is using algae and CO2 to turn genetically engineered yeast into a factory for omega-3 supplements and raw 3D printing materials for space travel.

J dropcapohn 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.

What Dr. Blenner is really doing is a new take on something the International Space Station already does: He’s recycling human exhalation and micturation (breath and pee) and turning it into raw materials.

He and his team want to feed carbon dioxide from human breath to algae cultures. Those algae cultures in turn produce lipids and other fats that, in combination with urea (derived in this case from human urine), are a favorite snack of yeast. The genetically engineered yeast will use these nutrients to create two important chemicals for astronauts: omega-3 fatty acids, and plastics.

The omega-3s are important because they could be developed into a dietary supplement that astronauts would take while in transit or consumed as a food product. The polyester plastics, meanwhile, would provide raw materials for 3D printing, so astronauts could make tools without having to haul bulky materials up to space. The algae and yeast cultures probably would be dry stored, reducing their weight upon launch.

Dr. Blenner and his team were granted a $200,000 per year award as part of the NASA Early Career Faculty program. One of the project’s larger goals is to get yeast to produce EPA and DHA. “Those two omega 3s aren’t synthesized by much of anything,” he says. “They’re only synthesized in diatoms and phytoplankton.”

The yeast culture in question already has a mechanism for producing chains of fatty acids. With some genetic tinkering, it should be able to produce the omega-3s, say the researchers.

“We think by the end of the three-year period we’ll have a better handle on what other technical challenges we need to overcome to make this work,” Dr. Blenner says. “The promise of synthetic biology is that, in principle, you should be able to produce lots of other kinds of materials.”

Read More

More Like This…

HOME A.I.M. Archives

Copyright ©2010-2015 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.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Trade Arabia reports that the Oman Centre for Marine Biotechnology (OCMB) recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Swedish Algae Factory to support the domestic...
Alexander Richter reports for Geothermal Energy News that, among the many examples offered during a recent conference in Pisa, Italy, on Perspectives and Impact of the Gr...
JapanNews.com reports that Euglena Co., a Tokyo-based maker of nutritional supplements, is spending ¥5.8 billion ($5.3 million USD) on building a test refinery that conve...
Susan Kraemer writes in solarpaces.org that to use solar thermal energy to convert farmed algae to fuel, the solar fuels research team at Australian National University (...
San Diego, CA and Kailua-Kona, HI-based Cellana, Inc. has signed an Asset Purchase Agreement with Cyanotech Corporation for the sale of Cellana’s six-acre production and ...
AlgaEnergy, a Spanish biotechnology company specializing in the production and commercial applications of microalgae, and Yokogawa Electric Corporation, a leading provide...
Paris-based Solabia Group (“Solabia”) has acquired Algatech Ltd., a global leader in the development, cultivation and commercialization of ingredients delivered from micr...
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 st...
The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) reports the introduction of the Algae Agriculture Act of 2018 (H.R. 5373), a bill that would give algae cultivators and harvesters ma...
Mazda U.K. has announced that they are currently involved in joint research projects and studies as part of an ongoing industry-academia-government collaboration to promo...
Israeli-based Algatechnologies, Ltd. (Algatech), is teaming up with the Italian R&D company, Sphera Encapsulation S.r.l (Sphera), to develop innovative functional ingredi...
Baillargues, France’s Microphyt, a leading company in microalgae-based natural solutions for nutrition and well-being, has announced a fundraising of €28.5 million (US$32...