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Augmentation of Biotech Products

Biodiesel augmentation

Biofuels production from bacteria, microalgae and yeast offer the potential way to solve the major challenges facing by other approaches today. Biodiesel formed particularly from microalgae seem to be the most promising renewable biofuel that would efficiently replace the other available fossil fuels such as petroleum products. Like plants, algae utilize sunlight to produce oil but they do so more efficiently than crop plants. Oil production by microalgae greatly exceeds the oil productivity of the many best producing oil crops and therefore, the algal biomass is one of the emerging sources of sustainable energy. Moreover, the biomass doubling time for microalgae during exponential growth can be 3 to 5 hrs, which is significantly faster than the doubling time for oil crops. Algal groups such as diatoms and cyanobacteria have been found to contain high level of lipid. These microalgae with high lipid content are of great interest in search for sustainable feedstock for production of biodiesel. But the economics of producing biodiesel need to improve substantially to make it competitive with conventional petrodiesel. There are many serious major problems have to be solved before commercialization of biodiesel such as growth and amount of oil produced. Producing low-cost microalgal biodiesel requires in-depth study on algal physiology through functional genomics, comparative genomics, metabolomics, metabolic pathway reconstruction, simulation and modeling. Transferring genes responsible for biodiesel production to yeast is also gaining importance.Currently we are focusing on:

  • 1.Phaeodactylum tricornutum, a diatom species and the genome comprises of 10,408 genes. About 783 genes have functions and the remaining 9625 genes are indicated as unknown or hypothetical protein.Initially, we have carried out functional assignment for these hypothetical proteins. Further, metabolic pathway analysis and flux analysis study will be carried out to augment its oil production. The clues obtained from the approach will be validated in wet lab in small scale studies then to scale up for industrial level.
  • 2. Botryococcus braunii, is an unique oleaginous eukaryotic algae whcih produces large amounts of liquid hydrocarbons comparable to fossil crude oil. Whole transcriptomes data are available analysis which helps in identification of genes and reconstruction of metabolic pathways responsible for production of both hydrocarbons and other metabolites of the alga. Ultimately this information will help in biosynthetic engineering of terpenoid pathway involving in bio-crude production.
  • 3. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a well studies versatile eukaryote is currently acting as host for producing many bioproducts such as taxadiene, fuels and biologics. Functional and comparative genomics studies are ongoing for hypothetical proteins in yeast. The derived information will be used in transferring genes from other organisms into yeast for better productivity.

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