Algae research

Algae research

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This image is part of the feature Superfuel From Superbugs

Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Algae research. Researcher from Solazyme Inc., USA, examining a petri dish from an incubation room containing different algae strains. Algae are photosynthesising micro-organisms. They convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into sugars, that are then metabolised into lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. Solazyme uses synthetic biology and genetic engineering to produce novel strains of algae. These are then cultivated in tanks of fermentation bioreactors. The algae are then processed to produce edible oils, novel compounds and biodiesel. They can also be dried for use as a fertiliser or animal feed or burned as biomass fuel. Photographed in 2008.

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