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

Research

Exploring land plant evolution

August 5, 2019
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

algae can live inside fungi

A strong relationship develops as algal cells (green) attach to fungal cells (brown).These algae can live inside fungi. It could be how land plants first evolved. Photo: Zhi-Yan Du, colored by Igor Houwat; from eLife ©2019, Du et al

How did plants make the evolutionary jump from water to land? Scientists think that green algae are their water-living ancestors, but we are not sure how the transition to land plants happened. However, new research from Michigan State University, and published in the journal eLife, presents evidence that algae could have piggybacked on fungi to leave the water and to colonize the land, over 500 million years ago.

“Fungi are found all over the planet. They create symbiotic relationships with most land plants. That is one reason we think they were essential for evolution of life on land. But until now, we have not seen evidence of fungi internalizing living algae,” says Zhi-Yan Du, study co-author and member of the labs of Christoph Benning, and now, Gregory Bonito.

Researchers selected a strain of soil fungus and marine alga from old lineages, respectively Mortierella elongata and Nannochloropsis oceanica. When grown together, both organisms form a strong relationship. “Microscopy images show the algal cells aggregating around and attaching to fungal cells,” Dr. Du says. “The algal wall is slightly broken down, and its fibrous extensions appear to grab the surface of the fungus.”

Surprisingly, when they are grown together for a long time — around a month — some algal cells enter the fungal cells. Both organisms remain active and healthy in this relationship.

This is the first time scientists have seen fungi internalize a  eukaryotic, photosynthetic organism. They call it a “photosynthetic mycelium.”

“Both organisms get additional benefits from being together,” Dr. Du says. “They exchange nutrients, with a likely net flow of carbon from alga to fungus, and a net flow of nitrogen in the other direction. Interestingly, the fungus needs physical contact with living algal cells to get nutrients. Algal cells don’t need physical contact or living fungus to benefit from the interaction. Fungal cells, dead or alive, release nutrients in their surroundings.”

“Even better, when nutrients are scarce, algal and fungal cells grown together fend off starvation by feeding each other. They do better than when they are grown separately.”

Perhaps this increased hardiness explains how algae survived the trek onto land. “In nature, similar symbiotic events might be going on, more than we realize,” Dr. Du adds. “We now have a system to study how a photosynthetic organism can live inside a non-photosynthetic one and how this symbiosis evolves and functions.”

Both organisms are biotech related strains because they produce high amounts of oil. Dr. Du is testing them as a platform to produce high-value compounds, such as biofuels or omega-3 fatty acids. “Because the two organisms are more resilient together, they might better survive the stresses of bioproduction,” he says. “We could also lower the cost of harvesting algae, which is a large reason biofuel costs are still prohibitive.”

This work was partially funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences. It was primarily a collaboration between the Michigan State University labs of Gregory Bonito (focus on fungi) and Christoph Benning (focus on algae).

Read More

More Like This…

Copyright ©2010-2020 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.

twittertopbarlinks_eventstopbarlinks_requesttopbarlinks_archives

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Unilever, the giant British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company, and UK-based biotech start-up Algenuity, have announced a new partnership to explore the huge pote...
Paris-based Solabia Group (“Solabia”) has acquired Algatech Ltd., a global leader in the development, cultivation and commercialization of ingredients delivered from micr...
Researchers at the University of California San Diego and the University of Cambridge have 3D printed coral-inspired structures that are capable of growing dense populati...
42 Technology has been appointed by LabXero, acoustic particle filtration technology company, to help develop pilot-scale biomanufacturing equipment that could significan...
Laura Sanders reports in Sciencenews.org that using algae as local oxygen factories in the brain might one day lead to therapies for strokes or other damage from too litt...
Edinburgh-based biotech startup MiAlgae has received an investment of £1 million ($1.3USD) to focus on the commercialization of its microalgae products that use co-produc...
Jason Huffman writes in UndercurrentNews.com that the Kampachi Company, a mariculture business focused on expanding the environmentally sound production of sashimi-grade ...
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...
Cécile Barbière writes for Euractive.fr (translated by Rob Kirby) that, in large greenhouses formerly home to the tomatoes and cucumbers of the market gardening Groupe Ol...
The problem of access to safe drinking water in most parts of Bangladesh is a persistent challenge. Now, a team of scientists from Uppsala University, Sweden, and Dhaka U...
E.A. Crunden writes in thinkprogress.org that Florida’s first gubernatorial debate was dominated by environmental and climate issues, with an emphasis on the state’s alga...
The Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative, a technology-based economic development program funded by the state of Utah, has awarded a $175,320 grant for...