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Using genotype selection for optimal EPA production of a commercial microalgal strain

AlgaeCytes Ltd and the Marine Biological Association, Plymouth used their 2014 ABSIG SPARK award to look at genotype selection for optimal EPA production of a commercial microalgal strain.

 

AlgaeCytes is focused on developing and commercialising bioactive ingredients in particular Omega 3 oils (EPA - Eicosapentaenoic acid) and proteins for the healthcare, nutraceutical and personal care markets. This project was an initial study aimed at improving the yield and productivity of AlgaeCytes' algal EPA strains for specific bioactive compounds as a prelude to a synthetic biology strategy. The SPARK award collaboration between MBA and AlgaeCytes has provided additional 22 clones that are to be further investigated by the company for improved EPA yield/productivity as well as growth rates. 

The award has also delivered PCRs of the 18S rRNA gene fragment of the microalgal strain from extracted DNA samples using previously designed primers for this region was completed. It was shown that there was sequence homology with other members of the expected clade in the Eustigamatophyceae. This has provided sufficient confidence to permit planning of future work on generating a ’omic’ data from this microalga thereby allowing AlgaeCytes to enhance the metabolic pathways involved in EPA production through environmental conditions. 

The project has allowed the teams at both Institutes to both gain an understanding of how each other works and via a visit to AlgaeCytes the members of two teams have met and exchanged some strong ideas for future collaboration. Project funding will also be sought via NiBBs, EU grants and other funds. 

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