Title

Algae for Biodiesel: Investigation of Enhanced Lipid Biosynthesis during Nitrogen Starvation

Presenter Information

Stuart Brune

Department

Biological Sciences

Major

Biological Sciences

Research Advisor

Chen, Nathan
Niyogi, Dev

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Funding Source

Missouri S&T Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences (OURE) Fellows Program

Abstract

The limited productivity of algal cultures in the production of lipids for bio-fuel is the most significant bottleneck for the commercialization of this new alternative energy technology. In order to increase algal productivity, the effects of environmental conditions and nitrogen starvation on the accumulation of lipids and triglycerides in Chlorella cells was investigated. Chlorella was chosen because it produces lipids as food reserves that are ideal for bio-diesel production. Many Chlorella species can increase their lipid content from 20% of their dry weight when grown in nutrient-sufficient conditions to more than 40% after nitrogen depletion. The two strains chosen for this investigation were Chlorella minutissima and Chlorella desiccata. It was first found that Chlorella grew most effectively at 25°C and under high levels of light. Multiple methods of cell extraction and lipid extraction were employed due to significant losses. It was then found that there is an increase in lipid content in both Chlorella species when placed under nitrogen starvation. This was confirmed through the use of fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy. The findings from this research will be used to further the bio-energy initiative at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Biography

Stuart Brune is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry. He is a resident of Chesterfield, MO in St. Louis County and graduated in 2005 from Marquette High School. Stuart is a member of the MS&T's IGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team, Helix biological science club, and is the current Vice-President of the Phi Sigma Biological Science Honors Society. He is also a Missouri “Bright Flight” scholarship recipient. After graduation Stuart is planning to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Research Category

Sciences

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Document Type

Presentation

Location

Carver Room

Presentation Date

08 Apr 2009, 9:30 am - 10:00 am

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Apr 8th, 9:30 AM Apr 8th, 10:00 AM

Algae for Biodiesel: Investigation of Enhanced Lipid Biosynthesis during Nitrogen Starvation

Carver Room

The limited productivity of algal cultures in the production of lipids for bio-fuel is the most significant bottleneck for the commercialization of this new alternative energy technology. In order to increase algal productivity, the effects of environmental conditions and nitrogen starvation on the accumulation of lipids and triglycerides in Chlorella cells was investigated. Chlorella was chosen because it produces lipids as food reserves that are ideal for bio-diesel production. Many Chlorella species can increase their lipid content from 20% of their dry weight when grown in nutrient-sufficient conditions to more than 40% after nitrogen depletion. The two strains chosen for this investigation were Chlorella minutissima and Chlorella desiccata. It was first found that Chlorella grew most effectively at 25°C and under high levels of light. Multiple methods of cell extraction and lipid extraction were employed due to significant losses. It was then found that there is an increase in lipid content in both Chlorella species when placed under nitrogen starvation. This was confirmed through the use of fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy. The findings from this research will be used to further the bio-energy initiative at Missouri University of Science and Technology.