Navigation Links
Stacking traits in algae is focus of grant to Iowa State University researcher
Date:2/22/2010

AMES, Iowa - Genetically stacking traits in corn in order to increase production, resist insects, improve standablity and many other characteristics is so common in agriculture that producers have come to expect it.

Some traits found in corn help it function as a better source for biofuels.

Lately, biofuels research has included a focus on using algae as a source for biofuels.

The problem is no one really understands the genomes of most algae well enough to consider the possibility of stacking traits to make them produce more oil, offer better thermal resistance or any of the other characteristics needed.

Martin Spalding hopes to change that.

With the help of a $4.37 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Spalding intends to develop a micro-algal platform that will allow micro-algae to be treated as a crop.

Spalding, professor and chair of genetics, development and cell biology and a council member of Iowa State's Plant Sciences Institute, is working with the one type of alga, Chlamydomonas, that is already genetically mapped.

Martin Spalding is working on stacking traits in Chlamydomonas algae.

"We have a sequenced genome, we understand the metabolism, and we have the tools available to us to work with this alga," he said.

Currently, the micro-algae used in biofuels production are wild strains found in nature and have certain traits that growers like, such as high oil production.

"Using those algae is a good strategy," Spalding said. "But the limitation with that strategy is that it has no flexibility, because the algae can't be manipulated genetically.

"The advantage of using a genetically flexible alga like Chlamydomonas is that we can manipulate it in various ways to tailor it to what the needs are," he said.

"Rather than look for an alga that produces trait 'x' or trait 'y' and then trying to adapt each new strain to production, which is a very difficult process, we are manipulating Chlamydomonas to meet x and y."

Spalding said the best analogy would be to stacking traits in corn.

Farmers could plant simple, unmanipulated lines of corn that have high yield, he said. But you wouldn't get the drought tolerance you want.

You could plant drought-tolerant corn, but you wouldn't get standability. But by genetically manipulating the corn, you can get all the traits you need.

Spalding believes his three-year study will produce many desirable traits in Chlamydomonas alga.

"Our project will probably lead to increased production of basically vegetable oil that can be converted to biodiesel," Spalding said. "Using the same process we are using to increase that oil production, we also could divert the production into hydrocarbons, which are closer to petroleum."

The end result could have several benefits.

"It will mean we will have a more sustainable source (of biofuels) than we have now -- more sustainable and more flexible," he said.

And since algae are not a feed source for animals, using algae for biofuels will not lead to higher commodity or food prices.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dan Kuester
kuester@iastate.edu
515-294-0704
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. DHS Expands Biometrics-at-Sea Program to the Florida Straits
2. At Boston symposium, NARSAD researchers report on genes and family traits
3. DNA study unlocks mystery to diverse traits in dogs
4. Traits produced by melanin may signal the bearers capacity to combat free radicals
5. UC San Diego researchers use metagene portraits to reveal distinct stages of kidney formation
6. Patient-derived induced stem cells retain disease traits
7. Sugar, spice and puppy dog tails: Developing sex-typed personality traits and interests
8. Scientists devise efficient way of learning about complex corn traits
9. Seabed biodiversity of the Straits of Magellan and Drake Passage
10. Study involving more than 100 scientists provides new insights on green algae
11. Green algae -- the nexus of plant/animal ancestry
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Stacking traits in algae is focus of grant to Iowa State University researcher
(Date:4/24/2017)... , April 24, 2017 Janice ... partner with  Identity Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , ... or without President Trump,s March 6, 2017 ... Entry , refugee vetting can be instilled with greater ... (Right now, all refugee applications are suspended by ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... , April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through its ... Summits will run alongside the expo portion of the ... panels and demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D ... design and manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 No two people ... at the New York University Tandon School of ... have found that partial similarities between prints are ... in mobile phones and other electronic devices can ... The vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... announced today it will be hosting a Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. ... Associates , on digital pathology adoption best practices and how Proscia improves lab ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Tbilisi, Georgia (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... disaster, taking the lives of over 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living ... the greenovative startup Treepex - based in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has unveiled ... bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to new ... , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking classes ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob ... at his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem ... CA and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two ...
Breaking Biology Technology: