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Use of a deviant mitochondrial genetic code in yellow-green algae

Use of a deviant mitochondrial genetic code in yellow-green algae as a landmark for segregating members within the phylum.


Several algae that were previously classified in the phylum Xanthophyta (yellow-green algae) were assigned in 1971 to a new phylum, Eustigmatophyta. It was anticipated that the number of algae reclassified to Eustigmatophyta would increase. However, due to the fact that the morphological characteristics that segregate eustigmatophytes from other closely related algae can be only obtained through laborious electron microscopic techniques, the number of members in this phylum have increased rather slowly. We attempted, therefore, to segregate two closely related groups of algae, eustigmatophytes and yellow-green algae, on the basis of a molecular phylogenetic tree as a means of providing an alternative method of distinguishing these phyla. We analyzed the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COXI) gene sequences of eight algae classified as xanthophyceans and found that six manifested the expected deviant genetic code where AUA codes for methionine (AUA/Met), but not for isoleucine (AUA/Ile) as in the universal genetic code. The other two, Monodus sp. (CCMP 505) and Ophiocytium majus (CCAP 855/1), which were presumed to be yellow-green algae, and all the examined eustigmatophytes utilized AUA for Ile. In addition, the phylogenetic tree of COXI gene sequences showed that the six yellow-green algae bearing the AUA/Met deviant code composed a tight clade with a bootstrap value of 100%. The phylogenetic tree of the corresponding sequences from Monodus sp. and Ophiocytium majus and the eustigmatophytes also composed a tight cluster, but with a bootstrap value of 92%. These results strongly suggest that two previously classified members of yellow-green algae belong to the phylum Eustigmatophyta. Therefore, examination of the mitochondrial genetic code in algae appears to be a potentially very useful genetic marker for classifying these organisms, especially when it is considered with the results obtained through a molecular phylogenetic tree.
Fri August 13 2010 02:52:07 AM by Power1921 2


A2BE Carbon Capture is developing bio-secure, scalable, climate adaptive, and highly cost effective technology for producing valuable fuel and food from CO2 using algal photosynthesis and bio-harvesting. The core of this technology is embodied in the published US patent application 20070048848: ?Method, apparatus and system for biodiesel production from algae? as well as a separate mechanical and a PCT patent application.

The A2BE Carbon Capture solution is unique in that it addresses carbon capture and recycle as well as the production of biofuels, animal feed protein, and fertilizer in a single integrated plant.

CO2 can originate from stationary sources such as fossil fuel fired power or heat plants, other types of biofuel plants producing ethanol from starch or cellulose, and CO2 from gasification/Fischer-Tropsch processes such as coal-to-liquids and natural gas-to-liquids.

At the core of the technology is the photo-bioreactor algae growing/harvesting (PBR) machine. Each PBR machine is 350? long and 50? wide consisting of twin 20? wide x 10? deep x 300? long, transparent plastic ?algae water-beds?.
bioalgae reactor

PBR Attributes include the following:

* Each PBR is a closed photo-bioreactor with bio-isolation to prevent cross-contamination.
* Each is piped CO2 and NOx bearing flue gas emissions or pure CO2 plus water and nutrients.
* Each produces pure O2 and a concentrated slurry of biomass through piped manifolds.
* PBR tubes are expendable in case of wearout or culture crash and are simply unrolled over an engineered base.
* Multi-function rollers pump in both directions, re-suspend algae, degas media, and clean internal surfaces.
* Parallel sets of counter-rotating helical currents within the bags photo modulate the light to the algae as they are carried up through the photo-tropic zone.
* Fully enclosed system prevents water evaporation and percolation. Water consumption is only 3? of equivalent rainwater use per year.
* Passive control of temperature extremes is achieved through a thermal radiation-conduction switching membrane within the bioreactor tubes.
* Bio-harvesting aggregates algae cells into larger, more separable, organisms allowing in-situ extraction and continuous production w/o resorting to batch stressing.
* Profitability is enhanced by the production of biofuel, protein, fertilizer, and methane.
* Bio-terrorism protection is afforded through modular redundant array of bio-isolated closed bioreactors.
Thu August 12 2010 10:09:36 AM by Power1921 1

algal fuel may not cut emission

Report Says Algal Biofuels May Not Cut Carbon Emission

A new study suggests that overall the CO2 emissions attendant to producing biofuel from algae may be worse than those from corn, canola (rape-seed) or switch grass. According to a life-cycle analysis, the land-based crops all were found to sequester more carbon than that incurred in growing them, while the contrary was true for growing algae, meaning that replacing fossil fuels by algal fuels could cause an overall increase in carbon emissions.

Not surprisingly, the report, just published in the prestigious American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science and Technology, has put the cat among the pigeons, since there are many new companies gearing-up to produce algal biofuels. The U.S. Algal Biomass Organization has claimed that the study contained ?faulty assumptions? and was based on ?grossly outdated data.?

However, on closer inspection, the report is in fact very positive about growing algae. Indeed, the data are only in opposition to making fuel from algae if nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients are added in their mineral forms, and if the CO2 has to be injected into the system, as produced elsewhere and transported as a compressed gas.

The figures in this ?cradle to farm gate? analysis (i.e. they do not include the energy costs of processing the algae or other biomass into fuel, per se) show that if the production of algae is combined with a wastewater treatment strategy, so that N and P are removed from it by the algae (an otherwise energy intensive procedure), and fed with CO2 from smokestacks, most of the environmental burdens attendant to growing algae are offset.

Thus, the algae production plant should be placed in close mutual proximity with a power station and a sewage-works. Of three possible municipal wastewater (sewage) effluents evaluated as a source of N and P, the most effective was source-separated urine with a very high content of these elements, in which case growing algae became more environmentally beneficial than the land-based crops.
Fri August 06 2010 10:27:25 AM by Power1921 1