In an effort to advance the commercial development of algae, a potentially sustainable source of green transportation fuels and consumer products, the Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGS) has teamed up with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) in Greece. Using strain improvement strategies and know-how successfully developed at Dr. George Philippidis’ Biofuels & Bioproducts Lab at USF, the AUTh chemical engineering team under Prof. Christos Chatzidoukas’ leadership is trying to improve the productivity of Chlorella sorokiniana for use in the food industry. Results of the investigation were presented by researchers Georgia Papapanagiotou and Christina Samara on December 13-15th, 2022 at the Algae Europe international conference in Rome, Italy under the title “Generation of improved Chlorella sorokiniana UV mutants with enhanced lipid accumulation capacity”.
Algae are a promising natural source of sustainable products and fuels, such as antioxidants and aviation fuel, but strain improvement is required to enhance their productivity and make them more cost competitive. Using random mutagenesis with ultraviolet light, the USF-AUTh team developed stable mutants of C. sorokiniana that exhibited higher lipid content and productivity than the wild type (parent strain). Further research is planned to characterize the mutants and shed light on biochemical changes caused by mutagenesis that could serve as a tool for future strain improvements.
This international research collaboration between USF and AUTh is supported by the European Union, Greek national funds, and the Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program (GDFP). The GDFP award to Dr. George Philippidis was funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and administered by the Institute of International Education in the USA in collaboration with the Fulbright Foundation of Greece.