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Lipid Pathway Modification in Oligeneous Algae

August 20th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Strains

Genetic engineering of algae is the talk of the town these days and GE of algae can be done by studying the metabolic pathway of algae species, modifying their genes responsible for the lipid content. The engineered microbes can then be cultivated for oil production. The genetically engineered organism can also be cultivated for producing high-end products such as oil, oleochemicals, and chemical precursors and so on.

Considering the oleaginous algae, these algae contain what is called an exogenous gene which encodes hydrocarbon modification enzymes such as fatty-acyl enzymes or carrier proteins. These algae are cultured in the presence of a fixed carbon source such as glycerol, depolymerized cellulosic material, sucrose, molasses, glucose, arabinose, fructose, arabinose, mannose, acetate and during this period, the algae accumulate at least 10% of their dry cell weight as lipid. After providing the food for the algae, the lipid components from the cultured microbe are isolated and they are subjected to chemical reactions to generate straight chain alkanes to produce algae biodiesel.

Essentially when GE is done the engineered algae expresses a lipid pathway enzyme at an altered level compared to a wild-type of the non-engineered species.  The lipid pathway enzyme is usually selected from the pyruvate dehydrogenase group, acetyl COA or acyl carrier protein.

For those of the scientific bent, the full patent can be obtained here – http://bit.ly/dvJlW6

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