Oct 2012 - Oct 2016
Photosynthetic communities in industrial cultivation
PHOTO.COMM involves the utilization of microalgae for the conversion of CO2 and H2O into chemicals and fuels, to directly replace finite fossil fuels and products. PHOTO.COMM has the primary objective of generating the next-generation scientists that will make a substantial and potentially game changing contribution towards this global challenge. In the project, the species composition will be determined by traditional and molecular methods, and the growth and characteristics of the cultures will be characterized in detail using metagenomics approaches. After this screening, new strains of cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae will be engineered, to improve their photosynthetic efficiency, their CO2 fixation rates and their nutrient uptake characteristics. These will then be used to generate new synthetic communities, whose performance will be compared with natural cultures, which will be analysed also by mathematical models. This knowledge will enable PHOTO.COMM programme to build a knowledge base that offers novel mixed cultures with superior abilities for industrial use.
Microalgae species: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Chlorella vulgaris