Genetic modification has the potential to create super strains of algae capable of ramping up biofuel production to meet growing demand. The challenge so far has been finding the most productive pathways to grow the algae.
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, researches at Iowa State University intend to develop a micro-algal platform that will allow micro-algae to be treated as a crop.
According to Martin Spalding, the Iowa State professor leading the project said, "We have a sequenced genome, we understand the metabolism, and we have the tools available to us to work with this algae."
Much of the current research on algae is being conducted on wild strains that have certain desirable traits such as high oil yield. Since the Chlamydomonas genome is already mapped, however, work can be done to tailor the genetic makeup of this alga to meet the growing biofuel industry’s needs.
Your Algae friend in Facebook