A major new breakthrough has occurred in the bid to create an efficient biofuel using engineered algae. Researchers have apparently found a way to produce a new strain of the organism that doubles the amount of oil they produce when compared to all previously known varieties, without significantly inhibiting the growth of the strain.
Reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology, researchers claim to have found a way to increase the oil content in the new strain of algae from the standard 20 percent of the organism to an impressive 40 percent. This is an impressive leap in the conversion of carbon dioxide to fat in the algae, and while it is far from close to being produced on a commercial scale, it’s an important proof of concept that shows what can be achieved.
“This step is critical, but it’s important to keep our focus down the line to where we need to go,” explained Alessandro Faldi in a statement. “We will need to increase the algae’s ability to convert the sun’s energy into biomass to further increase fat production and will begin testing and engineering more algae grown under various conditions. There’s still a long journey ahead of us.”