Navigation Links
Iowa State University scientists genetically increase algae biomass by more than 50 percent
Date:11/21/2011

AMES, Iowa - Research at Iowa State University has led to discovery of a genetic method that can increase biomass in algae by 50 to 80 percent.

The breakthrough comes from expressing certain genes in algae that increase the amount of photosynthesis in the plant, which leads to more biomass.

Expressing genes means that the gene's function is turned on.

"The key to this (increase in biomass) is combination of two genes that increases the photosynthetic carbon conversion into organic matter by 50 percent over the wild type under carbon dioxide enrichment conditions," said Martin Spalding, professor in the Department of Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology and associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Carbon enrichment conditions are those in which the algae has enough carbon dioxide.

This patent-pending technology is available for licensing from the Iowa State University Research Foundation, which also provided technology development funds.

This opens up possibilities for more and better biofuel development, according to Spalding.

"There is no doubt in my mind that this brings us closer [to affordable, domestic biofuel]," said Spalding.

In nature, algae are limited from growing faster because they don't get enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to Spalding.

In environments that have relatively low levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), such as air in earth's atmosphere, 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. 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.

Research by Spalding's group shows that algae can be made to produce biomass with the accelerator floored, even in conditions where it would normally just coast, Spalding said.

"Based on some prior research we had done, we expected to see an increase, probably in the 10 to 20 percent range" he said. "But we were surprised to see this big of an increase."

In experiments to get the algae type (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) to produce more biomass, Spalding first expressed LCIA and LCIB separately. Each effort granted a significant 10 to 15 percent increase in biomass.

When the two genes were expressed together, Spalding was 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.

The excess biomass naturally becomes starch through the photosynthesis process, and increases the biomass starch by around 80 percent.

By using some existing mutated genes, Spalding can instruct the algae to make oil instead of starch. This process requires more energy and the process results in around a 50 percent increase in oil biomass.


'/>"/>

Contact: Martin Spalding
mspaldin@iastate.edu
515-294-7740
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
2. L-1 Identity Solutions Receives $5.9 Million Drivers License Contract Expansion from the State of Mississippi
3. NC State takes lead in crime scene investigation training
4. Penn State receives new NASA astrobiology grant
5. Penn State researcher wins Entomological Society of America award
6. Paradigm Tactical Products to be Largest Distributor of Metal/Radiation Detection Wands in United States
7. Iowa State researcher develops new treatment method for canine eye diseases
8. L-1 Identity Solutions Selected by the State of New York as the Winning Bidder to Provide Enrollment Services for a Contract Estimated at Up to $250 Million
9. State fund advances titanium powder research, 9 other Iowa State projects
10. 15-state Southern obesity summit to focus on deadly epidemic
11. Montana State University researchers find gene that regulates molds resistance to drugs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Iowa State University scientists genetically increase algae biomass by more than 50 percent
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM Market by Solution ... Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", ... 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by 2022, at a ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... MELBOURNE, Florida , April 11, 2017 ... "Company"), a security technology company, announces the appointment of independent ... John Bendheim to its Board of Directors, furthering the ... ... behalf of NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS ... anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 25.76% during ... diseases is the primary factor for the growth of ... report: https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4807905/ MARKET INSIGHTS The global ... product, technology, application, and geography. The stem cell market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/21/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... Brian Pogue of Dartmouth has been ... The journal is published by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. ... optical technology for improved health care and biomedical research. The journal is published ...
(Date:8/21/2017)... ... August 21, 2017 , ... Finalists have ... recognize medical centers that have implemented innovative products, services, and technology over the ... competitive advantages, financial impact/value, and market need. The applicants with the top three ...
(Date:8/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... August 21, 2017 , ... ... firm is utilizing its extensive experience with Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) ... Health Record data. In 2014, US healthcare spending exceeded $3.0 trillion with nearly ...
(Date:8/21/2017)... California (PRWEB) , ... August 21, 2017 , ... Today ... for a project, funded by a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant, ... , Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also known as the Gates Foundation, is said ...
Breaking Biology Technology: