Results from a collaborative study by Tokyo Institute of Technology and Tohoku University, Japan, raise prospects for large-scale production of algae-derived starch, a valuable bioresource for biofuels and other renewable materials. Such bio-based products have the potential to replace fossil fuels and contribute to the development of sustainable systems and societies.
A "switch" controlling the level of starch content in algae has been discovered by a research team led by Sousuke Imamura at the Laboratory for Chemistry and Life Science, Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech).
Reported in The Plant Journal, the study focused on the unicellular red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae. The researchers demonstrated that starch content could be dramatically increased in C. merolae through inactivation of TOR (target of rapamycin), a protein kinase known to play an important role in cell growth.
They observed a notable increase in the level of starch 12 hours after inactivation of TOR through exposure to rapamycin, and this led to a remarkable ten-fold increase after 48 hours.To read more, click here.