A breath of CO2, a gulp of water, while basking in the sun !Meet the cyanobacteria, green algae and (photosynthetic)diatoms that may lend a helping hand to fuel the humanrace.
Here is an article published by Rob J. W. Brooijmans and Roland J. Siezen
on the Genomics of microalgae !!
The article has a detailed figure which has the evolutionary relationships of 20species with sequenced genomes usedfor comparative analyses, includingcyanobacteria and non-photosyntheticeubacteria, archaea and eukaryotes from theoomycetes, diatoms, rhodophytes, plants,amoebae and opisthokonts
The article also has publicly available complete genome of Cyanobacteria.
They are an ancient group whose evolution of photosynthesisled to the initial oxygenation of earth?s atmosphere,some 2.5 billion years ago. Even plastids, the essentialorganelles for photosynthesis in eukaryotic microalgaeand higher plants trace back to the engulfment(s) of cyanobacteria.
The article further says " What further increase inlipid content by metabolic engineering can be expected"
The immediate future for metabolic engineering withmicroalgae may lie in the (over)production of high-valuechemicals or biomass components.
For example, theunique bioactive compounds of cyanobacteria that keepswimmers from summer lakes may find pharmaceuticalinterest.
In green algae the production of the omega fattyacids, a popular food supplement with high economicvalue, could be increased (Pulz and Gross, 2004). Withmore completed diatom genome sequences, key genesmay be identified that dictate the building plans of themyriad of silica dioxide structures.
Indeed, fine tuning ofhigh-precision cheap bioproduction of nanoscale componentsreads like a 'patent pending'.
Therefore, microalgaehave much more to offer us than a cheap hit of diesel.
Let us savour them for their unique metabolism and theirbeauty now, and take comfort in the thought that they willbe there to save us when the last barrels of oil are hauledfrom the earth. "