(683f) Identification and Reduction of Expression of the Delta-12 Desaturase in Microalgae Dunaliella Tertiolecta

Chen, M., Wayne State University
Salley, S. O., Wayne State University
Ng, K. Y. S., Wayne State University
Holland, T., Wayne State University

Algae have been recognized as a potential source of biomass for production of biofuels because some species can produce and accumulate high levels of oil and other valuable energy storage molecules. Dunaliella tertiolecta is a marine green algae species known to accumulate oil when stressed. However, the majority of fatty acids in Dunaliella tertiolecta contain 2 or more double bonds, which are not preferred for biodiesel production due to their oxidizability. Unsaturated fatty acids are produced by the action of fatty acid desaturases (FADs), which convert specific C-C bonds in fatty acid chains to double bonds. The delta-12 fatty acid desaturase has a key role in the production of fatty acids with multiple double bonds. Using degenerate PCR primers, we will clone the D. tertiolecta delta-12 FAD. The PCR products will be fully sequenced and the function of complete cDNA will be verified in yeast. RNA interference (RNAi) will be used to reduce the expression of delta-12 FAD in D. tertiolecta. It is expected that this research will result in the production of algal oil with improved properties for biodiesel production.