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Will Botyrococcus braunii be a major diesel contributor? Posted by Sumukhi on Sat April 03 2010 04:32:16 AM 49

A research scientist in Texas claims that Botyrococcus braunii(BB) one of the most highly researched oil yielding strain will be a major contributor to meet the fuel needs.It is also believed that these biofuel algae store hydrocarbons to about 30-40% of their dry-weight.

Reasons why BB is widely researched:
1. It has an ability to produce oil in a small land area.
2. The quality of the oil obtained from the algae is excellent.
3. The BB hydrocarbons are pretty much similar to the chemical structure of gasoline and hence, the diesel obtained fdrom BB is referred to as diesel simply and not biodiesel and gasoline is also referred to as gasoline and not bio-gasoline.
4. The oil it produces is similar to petroleum, unlike the other algae they dont produce veggie type oils.

Though BB possess all these features, there are some key issues to which clear answers are required to commercially produce "diesel" and "gasoline" are:

a. Its slow growth rate ? Requires four days doubling time.
b. Expensive to cultivate.

Algae enthusiasts and research scientists have therefore decided to study the genomic structure of BB. Surprisingly, the genome sequence of the BB has still not been analysed and scientists intend to study the genome sequence so as to identify the genes involved in cell-division.

We can soon expect the whole genome of this top biofuel strain . This apparently, is composed of guanine(G) and cytosine(C) and hence can be very difficult to sequence.Only after knowing the amount of G and C, we can evaluate the amount of resources required for genome sequencing.

Hence,if the genetic make up of BB is fully analysed, it will place the algae biofuels in a higher stage.