Sunlight converts algae fats directly into hydrocarbons for speedy biofuel production

September 2, 2017 |

In France, researchers discovered that certain species of algae can convert fats directly to hydrocarbons that can come in handy for biofuel production. Using sunlight as an input and filtering the contents of algae to leave them with protein solutions with some cell contents, they tested them for how well they converted to fats. They found a set of 10 proteins that existed in all three fractions that were able to convert fats, but one of them was a mystery protein. Once they identified that mystery protein’s gene, they tweaked it and transferred it to bacteria where it converted fats to hydrocarbons. Interestingly, the reaction needed blue light to work and when they switched it to red light, the conversion process stopped. The discovery can lead to many applications that rely on algae fat conversion to hydrocarbons, like biofuel production.

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Category: Research

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