Antarctic algae, alternative photosynthesis and art

April 7, 2019 |

In Florida, Miami University microbiologists Rachael Morgan-Kiss and Xin Wang received a $750,000 grant from the Department of Energy to research how Antarctic algae use an alternative pathway during photosynthesis.

This pathway helps the algae to survive different environmental conditions such as light stress, high salinity and extremely low temperatures. Photosynthetic microbes such as algae fix 50 percent of the global carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.

Their project uses cold-adapted algae from ice-covered lakes in Antarctica to address questions about alternative pathways for converting sunlight into energy for carbon fixation. With new state-of-the-art equipment in his lab he will investigate the assembly of a protein supercomplex that provides high rates of the alternative photosynthesis pathway. Photosynthesis, vital for agricultural yields, also has important applications in biofuel production.

This research supports future approaches for improving photosynthesis performance of organisms under environmental stress. It provides new engineering targets for artificial photosynthetic platforms.

Collaborating with Morgan-Kiss and Wang on this project are Ru Zhang, principal scientist at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and Petra Fromme, director of the Biodesign Center at Arizona State University.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: ,

Category: Research

Thank you for visting the Digest.