Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Energy News  




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















BIO FUEL
Genome sequence of fuel-producing alga announced
by Staff Writers
College Station TX (SPX) May 15, 2017


The genome of Botryococcus braunii, being studied for its potential for biofuel by Texas A and M AgriLife Research scientists in College Station, has been sequenced. Credit (Texas A and M AgriLife Research photo by Kathleen Phillips)

The genome of the fuel-producing green microalga Botryococcus braunii has been sequenced by a team of researchers led by a group at Texas A and M AgriLife Research.

The report, in Genome Announcements, comes after almost seven years of research, according to Dr. Tim Devarenne, AgriLife Research biochemist and principal investigator in College Station. In addition to sequencing the genome, other genetic facts emerged that ultimately could help his team and others studying this green microalga further research toward producing algae and plants as a renewable fuel source.

"This alga is colony-forming, which means that a lot of individual cells grow to form a colony. These cells make lots of hydrocarbons and then export them into an extracellular matrix for storage," Devarenne said. "And these hydrocarbons can be converted into fuels - gasoline, kerosene and diesel, for example, the same way that one converts petroleum into these fuels."

Devarenne pointed to previous studies showing that hydrocarbons from B. braunii have long been associated with petroleum deposits, indicating that over geologic time the alga has coincided with and contributed to the formation of petroleum deposits.

"Essentially, if we were to use the hydrocarbon oils from this alga to be a renewable fuel source, there would be no need to change any kind of infrastructure for making the fuel. It could be put right into the existing petroleum processing system and get the same fuels out of it," he said.

Devarenne said his lab wants to understand not so much how to make fuel, but rather how the alga makes these hydrocarbons, what genes and enzymes are involved and how they function.

"Once we understand that, maybe we can manipulate the alga to make more oil or specific types of oil or maybe we can transfer those genes into other photosynthetic organisms to have them make the oil instead of the alga," said Devarenne, whose lab in 2016 announced the discovery of the enzyme used by the algae to produce hydrocarbons.

That's why sequencing the genome was important, he said, because it will help identify all the genes and enzymes in the genome needed for hydrocarbon production and control of this production.

And it isn't easy. Sequencing the genome means isolating all the DNA from the nucleus of the cell, sequencing it into small fragments and then assembling it back together into a complete genome. Think of a 166 million-piece jigsaw puzzle, given that the size of the B. braunii genome is estimated to be about 166 million bases, he said.

Devarenne said that because only portions of the B. braunii genome in this report are "spelled out," so to speak, it is considered a draft genome, or first attempt at assembling all the pieces.

"It's not perfect, but it's still very usable and valuable to the other researchers who are studying this alga," he said. His own lab plans to do a more in-depth analysis and compare it to other known algae and land plant genomes so as to see what's unique and similar.

Along with the sequencing, Devarenne's study found that there are about 18,500 genes in the B. braunii genome and there are portions of genes called untranslated regions that are very long. These regions are not formed into proteins but are rather used for regulatory purposes.

"They can be several thousand base pairs long, whereas in most organisms those regions may be only a couple hundred base pairs long," he said of the untranslated regions. "We don't know what that's about yet."

He said the B. braunii genome has been very challenging to assemble because of lots of repetitive sequences in it.

"Assembling the genome is not a trivial process at all," Devarenne explained. "We send DNA to be sequenced by the Joint Genome Institute, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy, and they sequence it in lots of very small fragments. These fragments of DNA may be anywhere from 150 to 300 base pairs long. So imagine if we have 166 million bases in our genome, and it is sent back to us in little fragments that have to be assembled back together to arrive at 166 million bases. We used the Texas A and M Supercomputer Center to help."

As more gaps are filled in, he said, a more complete genome will emerge, and that will help researchers dive deeper into the biochemical processes in this alga.That information will then help them understand how and why the organism makes hydrocarbons in very high quantities, how that process is regulated and what the particular biosynthetic pathways are used to make the hydrocarbons.

"Just like the human genome has been sequenced but isn't fully understood, there is still a lot to study. It's really a never-ending process," Devarenne said.

Research Report

BIO FUEL
Enhancing the efficiency of cereal straw for biofuel production
Hong Kong, China (SPX) May 11, 2017
Straw is commonly used for feeding animals, burning, baling, etc. As one of the "Three Canton Treasures", straw can actually be used as a raw material to produce biofuel. Ethanol, an alcohol, is a clean and renewable biofuel traditionally produced by fermentation of sucrose from sugarcane or glucose released from corn starch. With an increasing demand on biofuel in recent years, cellulose ... read more

Related Links
Texas A and M AgriLife Communications
Bio Fuel Technology and Application News

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

BIO FUEL
Beaumont Solar Announces the Beaumont "Big C" Services Unit to Solar Industry

A record year for Swedish leading solar energy technology provider Midsummer

Next-gen solar cells could be improved by atomic-scale redesign

Solar power not a favorite for New Zealand

BIO FUEL
Oil prices fall on slow drain of supplies

Offshore, not shale, driving U.S. oil exports

More drilling on tap for North Sea

Oil development plans nearly ready for Senegal

BIO FUEL
The EU: What happened to climate's poster child; Canada blocks audit change

Rising temperatures threaten stability of Tibetan alpine grasslands

New scrutiny of poles as world braces for climate shifts: UN

Tillerson: Trump will not rush US climate policy review

BIO FUEL
Electroplating delivers high-energy, high-power batteries

Laser pulses reveal the superconductors of the future

Understanding of superconductor's 'normal' state may help solve longstanding puzzle

Harnessing geometric frustration to tune batteries for greater power

BIO FUEL
Microbial fuel cell converts methane to electricity

Genome sequence of fuel-producing alga announced

New breakthrough makes it easier to turn old coffee waste into cleaner biofuels

Enhancing the efficiency of cereal straw for biofuel production

BIO FUEL
GM announces drive for sustainable rubber

Judge curbs Uber engineer in trade secrets case

Volvo says may pull brake on diesel engines

Judge seeks criminal review of Uber-Alphabet dispute

BIO FUEL
Chinese exporting adulterated fish to Brazil: police

Tillage farming damaging earthworm populations

Syngenta shareholders accept ChemChina offer

Conservation agriculture offers tired soil remedies

BIO FUEL
Entropy landscape sheds light on quantum mystery

'Hot' electrons don't mind the gap

Adhesive behavior of self-constructive materials measured for first time

Hydrogen bonds directly detected for the first time




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement