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Jürgen Polle
RESEARCH >> ALGAE TO BIOFUELS
>> LIPID AND ISOPRENOID METABOLISM IN ALGAE
>> MICROALGAE DISTRIBUTION AND DIVERSITY IN HYPERSALINE HABITATS
>> REGULATION OF CHLOROPHYLL ANTENNA SIZE OF PHOTOSYSTEMS
>> PHYLOGENY OF THE GREEN ALGAE DUNALIELLA
>> OTHER

algae to biofuels:
from strain isolation
to strain engineering

habitat habitat habitat

Algae to biofuel conversion research at LEAP currently concentrates on the following areas:

  1. Isolation of new microalgae strains and screening for use in biofuels research.
  2. Improving the productivity of mass cultures.
  3. Metabolism of hydrocarbons: Dunaliella.

Isolation of new microalgae strains by LEAP will help development towards the production of oil and the production of hydrocarbons. The labor-intensive procedure to isolate as many unicellular strains as possible begins with a dual spatial and temporal approach, sampling from a variety of habitats (e.g., freshwater, brackish, marine, hypersaline) in a wide range of locations including New York, Salton Sea, the Great Salt Lake, and the southwestern states of the United States at different times throughout the year. Aliquots from enrichment samples are directly plated before being transferred in series to index plates. Unialgal strains are then isolated on individual plates.

[Algae Sampling][Direct Plating]

[Index Plate][Unialgal Strains]
Samples from various locations are transferred in the lab to plates. Samples are further transferred to index plates and then unialgal strains are separated onto individual plates.

In addition to the traditional isolation method, a cell sorter is used for high-throughput isolation of strains.

Students with Cell Sorter
Shown is the BD FACSAria System II cell sorter operated by Dr. Duc Tran and Mr. Sixto Portilla.

To check for lipid content, the screening process uses fluorescent dyes. Nile red fluorescence is used to detect triacylglyceride.

Chlorophyceae: Dunaliella salina image Chlorophyceae: Dunaliella salina image
TAG detection: Chlorophycea, Dunaliella salina


Chlorophyceae: Haematococcus pluvialis image Chlorophyceae: Haematococcus pluvialis image
TAG detection: Chlorophycea, Haematococcus pluvialis


Chlorophyceae: Haematococcus pluvialis image Chlorophyceae: Haematococcus pluvialis image
TAG detection: Chlorophyceae, Haematococcus pluvialis

Using a plate reader, a TAG screening is performed to obtain analytical data.

acknowledgements

Funding for this research provided by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and the United States Department of Energy (DOE).

Some water samples have been provided as part of a collaboration with the Boy Scouts of America and cadets in the Sea-Legs sailing program.





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