Green algae produce bio-diesel in the form of lipid drople
Green algae produce bio-diesel in the form of lipid droplets in response to various stress conditions. These droplets may accumulate to aver 60% of the organisms dry mass.
Algae may be cultivated in tanks over non-agricultural land thus minimizing competition with food sources. However, these advantages can not be harnessed until further understanding of the metabolic processes leading to lipid production is achieved. In order to study this metabolic pathway we apply advanced optical microscopy to quantify lipid production in real time under various growth conditions and controlled stimuli. The visual data is correlated with dynamic gene profiling via RT-PCR, providing genetic feedback on the main biological players in lipid production.
Image caption: Algae (red) are grown under conditions of nitrogen deprivation and and visualized continously under a fluorescence microscope. Lipid droplets (yellow) are accumulated over time as seen here after 24 hours.