(132b) Engineering the Microalgae Strain Chlamydomonas Reinhardtii for Xylose Utilization

Pourmir, A. - Presenter, The University of Tulsa

Microalgae have been recognized as potentially great sources for the production of biofuels because of their high oil content and rapid biomass production. For achieving the full potential of microalgae, genetic improvements are necessary in order to enhance the capabilities of native strains to make algae-based processes more economically attractive. Microalgae are well known for their ability to be grow photoautotrophically; however higher biomass yields can be achieved when algae is grown heterotrophically. Currently a great amount of research effort is being devoted to breaking down lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars. The fermentable sugars derived from cellulosic feedstocks vary significantly depending on the feedstock and the conversion process. The pentose sugars xylose and arabinose typically constitute a substantial portion of the total sugar content from these different feedstocks. This work seeks to engineer microalgae strain Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to metabolize the pentose sugar xylose by introducing a fungal D-xylose utilization pathway into the chloroplast genome of  Creinhardtii.