go to http://www.aocs.org! Visit us at algaelabsystems.comA biological resource that drives one of the great engines of planetary control Visit  cricatalyst.com!Looking for Algae Industry Research?

Research

Researching algae in space and extreme environments

June 1, 2014 — by Dennis O’Brien
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Soyez rocket launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

Soyez rocket launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

By sending algae into space, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist and his team will be able to study some of the key mechanisms that control plant growth and photosynthesis.

The work by plant physiologist Autar Mattoo with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is part of an international effort, largely funded by the European Space Agency, to improve the photosynthetic machinery of crops so they produce higher yields and grow in extreme environments. Mattoo works at the ARS Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

Autar Mattoo

Plant physiologist Autar Mattoo analyzes the algae data during the space flight. The screen on the right shows the crystal structure of the D1 protein with muta-tion sites. Photo by Stephen Ausmus.

ARS is USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

During photosynthesis, a protein-pigment complex known as Photosystem II (PS II) must constantly be repaired to fix damage caused by sunlight and ultraviolet radiation. As part of that repair process, a protein known as D1 is continuously being replaced. Research has shown that mutations of the D1 protein in the PS II complex can either increase or decrease photosynthetic activity.

Giuseppina Rea

At the Institute of Crystallography in Rome, Italy, Giuseppina Rea selects algae cultures for the space flight. Photo by Maria Teresa Giardi.

The researchers wanted to assess the effects of microgravity, cosmic rays, high-energy particles and the ionizing radiation of space on the PS II complex, photosynthesis and plant growth. They also wanted to see if the effects would differ in a simple model for photosynthesis, an alga, with the D1 gene altered in specific ways.

The researchers placed samples of the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in airtight “photo cells” and had them launched in a Russian-made Soyuz space capsule in Kazakhstan. The C. reinhardtii, often studied as a model for photosynthesis, spent 15 days in orbit getting doses of cosmic radiation while under light and temperature conditions that would ensure growth on earth. They also sent up four mutants of C. reinhardtii with alterations in the D1 protein gene.

Baikonur Cosmodrome

Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Soyuz rocket is being prepared for launch. The Foton-M2 capsule containing the mutant algae samples is held in the green nose of the rocket. Photo courtesy of European Space Agency.

They found that some aspect of the space environment inhibited the ability of the control C. reinhardtii and two of the four mutant strains to photosynthesize and grow, both in space and later when they were brought back to Earth. However, two other mutant strains flourished, both in space and when they returned to Earth. The results, published in PLOS ONE, shed new light on the importance of the D1 protein both in photosynthesis and as a target of environmental signals.

Read More

More Like This…

HOME A.I.M. Archives

Copyright ©2010-2014 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.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
As of March 1, 2015, bbi-biotech GmbH, of Berlin, Germany, has begun integrating IGV Biotech GmbH’s photobioreactors into its own life science product portfolio. A former...
None of us would be alive if sperm cells didn’t know how to swim, or if the cilia in our lungs couldn’t prevent fluid buildup. But we know very little about the dynamics ...
In one of the first studies to examine the potential for using municipal wastewater as a feedstock for algae-based biofuels, Rice University scientists found they could e...
Jeff Gelski writes in foodbusinessnews.net that algae oil is now in the toolbox of alternative oils shown to replace partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which cause trans...
Five years ago, on April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig caused a release of 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico before the well was ca...
Tubular glass photobioreactor (PBR) systems protect algae from harmful environmental factors, keeping strains safer from bio-contamination. The glass tubing itself can be...
The vision of developing a community college degree program to train a high technology algae workforce was launched at New Mexico's Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) in 2...
Japan’s IHI Corporation has announced that they have succeeded in stably cultivating a modified high-output algal strain in a 1,500 square meter open pond in Kagoshima, K...
The fully automated plant at the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna, Germany, was designed to produce microalgae at industrial scale. ...
EnAlgae researchers have published an economic model to help to explore the economics of cultivating macroalgae at sea. The model and report can be found here as outputs ...
Earthrise Nutritionals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo, Japan’s DIC Corporation, is on schedule to complete construction in August, 2015, of a new extraction plant fo...
OriginClear Inc. and partner AlgEternal have announced that, based on AlgEternal’s field tests, they believe their pure algae concentrate, harvested with OriginClear tech...
Scientists have been investigating the likely future impact of changing environmental conditions on ocean phytoplankton, which forms the basis of all the oceans' food cha...
Algiran, an Iranian algal biotech company, has recently established a pilot scale algal cultivation demonstration facility at the Chabahar Free Zone, in the Baluchistan P...
Nurit Canetti writes in Israeli Pulse that Rwandan agronomists are on a one-year visit to Israel to study various aspects of Israeli agriculture firsthand. Primarily they...