Microalgae Producing Ecofriendly Biofuel, Perfect Alternative For Fossil Fuel

By Ankan sarkar | Mar 01, 2017 08:23 AM EST
Supervisor: Dr. Minh Tri Bui
Student: Vu Bao Pham Ngoc Tung Nguyen
Class: 13SH111

Nowadays modern civilization is totally dependent on fossil fuel for energy generation. But, there are some major drawbacks of fossil fuel. The main disadvantage of the fossil fuel is, it leads the environment to pollution and it is a non-renewable energy source. Now, scientists have found an alternative way to produce energy by using microalgae to produce biofuel and it is totally safe for the environment.

Green algae and other photosynthetic organisms can store Carbon molecules, such as Triacylglycerols (TAGs) from atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. Nannochloropsis alga can accumulate 50 percent more TAGs. To produce biofuels scientists needed a huge amount of TAGs. A research team from Tokyo Institute of Technology have inspected lipid metabolism in Nannochloropsis Oceanica and found lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferases enzymes took main part in Triacylglycerol synthesis. They have published their findings in The Plant Journal.

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Scientists synthesized TAGs into the extra plastidic Kennedy pathway through sequential addition of three fatty acyl moieties to the glycerol backbone. They have focused on four Lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferases (LPATs) enzymes among the all participating enzymes that are responsible for the addition of fatty acids at the second position. Those Four LPATs are denoted as LPAs(1-4).

According to Phys report, researchers found a close evolutionary relationship between LPAT3 and LPAT4 but, LPAT1 and LPAT2 belong to different subfamilies phylogenetically. When those enzymes were revealed by using mutant strains of N. Oceanica, they have shown distinct functional activities.

LPAT1 was actively participating in the synthesis of membrane lipids and LPAT4 was found biosynthesizing the TAG, while LPAT2 and LPAT3 contributed to both processes. Scientists labeled LPATs with fluorescent tags and examined their intracellular location using confocal microscopy.

Typical ER localization pattern was found in LPAT1 and LPAT2. but, LPAT3 and LPAT4 showed the perimeter of Lipid droplets (LDs). scientists suggested that LPAT2 is mainly involved in the initial TAG synthesis in the ER, and LPAT3 and LPAT4 localize on LD surface to further growth of LDs, based on the result of LD formation.

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