Synechococcus Sp. PCC 7002 To Boost Biofuel Production

  • In a Department of Biotechnology, sponsored research, scientists at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) have developed a method to improve the growth rate and sugar content of a marine cyanobacterium called Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002.
  • They successfully engineered Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 which showed a higher growth rate and sugar (glycogen) content. When grown on air, the growth was doubled and the glycogen content of the cells increased by about 50%.
  • Biotechnological processes such as biofuel production are dependent on the availability of low-cost and sustainable supply of sugars and a nitrogen source. Plants, through the process of photosynthesis, convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into biological components such as sugars, proteins and lipids.
  • The cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) can also perform photosynthesis and produce sugar by fixing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Apart from higher yield of sugars, cyanobacterial biomass also provides a nitrogen source in the form of proteins.
  • Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 is a model marine cyanobacterium. There are other Synechococcus species and related organisms where this work can be extended.
  •  The present finding will help improve the economic feasibility of marine cyanobacteria-based sugar, and consequently, biofuel production.

Source : Civil Services Chronicle Online, April, 2020