Researchers at the John Innes Centre have found a set of previously unclassified genes in a single cell algae that inhabits many of our ponds - Euglena gracilis. They suggest that these newly identified genes could make new forms of carbohydrates and natural products, in addition to the vitamins, essential amino acids and sugar polymers already produced from Euglena.
Professor Rob Field from the John Innes Centre said, “We know there are many products made from Euglena which are already on the market – beauty and nutritional supplements, foods and even fuel for cars – all popular in Japan and the Far East. What we didn’t realise is that there is so much more that Euglena is capable of producing which could give us new treatments, cures and industrial capabilities. We hope this landmark research will encourage other scientists to build on our findings with Euglena, and other algae, to work out exactly what compounds they make and how we can use them.”
Story source: John Innes Centre News, 14 Aug 2015
Journal reference: Ellis O'Neill, Martin Trick, Lionel Hill, Martin Rejzek, Renata Dursi, Chris Hamilton, Paul Zimba, Bernard Henrissat and Rob Field. The transcriptome of Euglena gracilis reveals unexpected metabolic capabilities for carbohydrate and natural product biochemistry. Mol. BioSyst., 2015, published online 13 Aug 2015. DOI: 10.1039/C5MB00319A