Scientists discover new way to make algae produce biofuel

Scientists discover new way to make algae produce biofuel

Scientists discover new way to make algae produce biofuel A recently published paper outlines genetic manipulations that could make a certain type of algae improve oils that can be used as biofuel.

James Umen, PhD, associate member at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and his colleagues have found a way to make these plants better oil producers without sacrificing their growth, which could translate to sustainable supplies of biofuel in the future.

The findings were published in a paper last month.

The study specifically examines the interactions of proteins in algae which make them better at producing oils, while at the same time helping match cell growth rate with nutrient levels in the environment. Further findings revealed that a certain type of algae could be fed specific nutrients to spur oil, and therefore biofuel, production.

“Our study reveals a new way to understand how cells control carbon metabolism and storage,” explained Inmaculada Couso, PhD, post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Plant Biochemistry and Photosynthesis. “As we decipher the …code, we open up the prospect of being able to reprogram metabolism and make algae better producers of oil or other high value carbon-rich compounds."

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