ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics modify algae doubling oil production

June 19, 2017 |

In California, ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics Inc. announced a breakthrough in joint research into advanced biofuels involving the modification of an algae strain that more than doubled its oil content without significantly inhibiting the strain’s growth.

Using advanced cell engineering technologies at Synthetic Genomics, the ExxonMobil-Synthetic Genomics research team modified an algae strain to enhance the algae’s oil content from 20 percent to more than 40 percent. Results of the research were published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Biotechnology by lead authors Imad Ajjawi and Eric Moellering of Synthetic Genomics.

Researchers at Synthetic Genomics’ laboratory in La Jolla discovered a new process for increasing oil production by identifying a genetic switch that could be fine-tuned to regulate the conversion of carbon to oil in the algae species, Nannochloropsis gaditana. The team established a proof-of-concept approach that resulted in the algae doubling its lipid fraction of cellular carbon compared to the parent – while sustaining growth.

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Category: Research

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