Algae biofuels: the wave of the future
Researchers at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute have assembled the draft genome of a marine algae sequence to aid scientists across the US in a project that aims to discover the best algae species for producing biodiesel fuel. The results have been published in Nature Communications.
The necessity of developing alternative, renewable fuel sources to prevent a potential energy crisis and alleviate greenhouse gas production has long been recognized. Various sources have been tried -- corn for ethanol and soybeans for biodiesel, for example. But to truly meet the world's fuel needs, researchers must come up with a way to produce as much biofuel as possible in the smallest amount of space using the least amount of resources.
Enter algae. Unlike other crops like corn or soybeans, algae can use various water sources ranging from wastewater to brackish water and be grown in small, intensive plots on denuded land. While algae may still produce some C02 when burned, it can sequester C02 during growth in a way that fossil-fuel based energy sources obviously can't.
Scientists in VBI's Data Analysis Core (DAC), Robert Settlage, Ph.D., and Hongseok Tae, Ph.D., assisted in the assembly of the genome of Nannochloropis gaditana, a marine algae that may be capable of producing the lipid yields necessary for a viable fuel source.
"Getting the data is now the easy part. What we're doing in the DAC is enabling researchers to move beyond informatics issues of assembly and analysis to regain their focus on the biological implications of their research," said Settlage.
Further analysis revealed that with fairly straightforward genetic modification, N. gaditana should be capable of producing biofuel on an industrial scale, which may be the wave of the future in fuel research and production.
Source: Virginia Tech
- Marine algae seen as ideal biofuel sourcefrom UPITue, 3 Apr 2012, 19:30:15 EDT
- Algae biofuels: the wave of the futurefrom Biology News NetTue, 3 Apr 2012, 18:00:19 EDT
- Algae biofuels: The wave of the futurefrom Science DailyTue, 3 Apr 2012, 16:30:48 EDT
- Algae biofuels: the wave of the futurefrom PhysorgTue, 3 Apr 2012, 16:00:31 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Iowa State astronomers say comet fragments best explanation of mysterious dimming star
- Canuckosaur! First Canadian 'dinosaur' becomes Dimetrodon borealis
- New study suggests angler education can benefit sharks
- CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy
- How cells 'climb' to build fruit fly tracheas
- Smeagol found underground in Brazil: New eyeless and highly modified harvestman species
- New gene that makes common bacteria resistant to last-line antibiotic found in animals and patients in China
- Low-oxygen 'dead zones' in North Pacific linked to past ocean-warming events
- Blocking immune cell treats new type of age-related diabetes
- Forming planet observed for first time
- Assessing the role of negative citations in science
- Obese children's health rapidly improves with sugar reduction unrelated to calories
- Annual Antarctic ozone hole larger and formed later in 2015
- Study reveals the architecture of the molecular machine that copies DNA
- NASA study: Mass gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet greater than losses