Oil-rich yellow-green algae found in Rockies thrives in low temps

By Wiley | June 04, 2013

A new strain of yellow-green algae, heterococcus sp. DN1, which may prove to be an efficient source for biodiesel, has been discovered in the snow fields of the Rocky Mountains. Research examining this new alga, published in Biotechnology Progress, reveals that H. sp. DN1 was found to grow at temperatures approaching freezing and to accumulate large intracellular stores of lipids.

Algae that can grow in extreme conditions and accumulate lipids are of great interest to industry. The team found that as H. sp. DN1 produces the highest quantity of lipids when grown undisturbed with high light in low temperatures, it is a potential source of lipids for human nutrition; and it has an ideal lipid profile for biofuel production when stressed.

“We have isolated and characterized a new cold-tolerant lipid-producing strain of algae from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, U.S.,” said David R. Nelson with the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. “This may have implications for the commercial production of algal lipids at northern latitudes where the culture of other algal species is limited or impossible.” 

 

 
 
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