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Ultraviolet modification of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii for carbon capture

Authors Gopal N, Sudhakar K

Received 18 October 2015

Accepted for publication 28 January 2016

Published 15 April 2016 Volume 2016:7 Pages 41—46


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Zvi Kelman

Nikhil S Gopal,1 K Sudhakar2

1The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, NJ, USA; 2Bioenergy Laboratory, Malauna Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal, India

Purpose: Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels have been rising rapidly. Algae are single-cell organisms with highly efficient CO2 uptake mechanisms. Algae yield two to ten times more biomass versus terrestrial plants and can grow nearly anywhere. Large scale CO2 sequestration is not yet sustainable due to high amounts of nitrogen (N) and phosphate (P) needed to grow algae in media.
Methods: Mutant strains of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii were created using ultraviolet light (2.2–3 K J/m2) and natural selection using media with 20%–80% lower N and P compared to standard Sueoka's high salt medium. Strains were selected based upon growth in media concentrations varying from 20% to 80% less N/P compared to control. Biomass was compared to wild-type control (CC-125) using direct counts, optical density dry weight, and mean doubling time.
Results: Mean doubling time was 20 and 25 hours in the low N and N/P strains, respectively (vs 66 hours in control). Using direct counts, growth rates of mutant strains of low N and N/P cultures were not statistically different from control (P=0.37 and 0.70), respectively.
Conclusion: Two new strains of algae, as well as wild-type control, were able to grow while using 20%–40% less N and P. Ultraviolet light-based modification of algae is an inexpensive and alternative option to genetic engineering techniques. This technique might make larger scale biosequestration possible.

Keywords: biosequestration, ultraviolet, carbon sequestration, carbon capture, algae

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