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

Authors: 
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.