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Genetic Engineering Hydrocarbon Production in Algae

Stephen Gabauer1, Thomas D. Niehaus2, Waqas Khatri3, Rachel Arndt1, Joeseph Chappell2, and Wayne Curtis1. (1) Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 232 Fenske Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802, (2) Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky, 301B Plant Sciences Building, 1405 Veterans Drive, Lexington, KY 40546-0312, (3) Industrial Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 232 Fenske Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802

Algae can be used to capture and reduce CO2 to hydrocarbons using photosynthetic energy. While our work with the native hydrocarbon producing algae strain Botryococcus braunii is presented in a different session (#202d), this poster will focus on the genetic engineering strategy to move this hydrocarbon synthetic pathway to the model algae host Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This approach to introducing heterologous isoprenoid metabolism includes manipulating fluxes in both the cytoplasm and chloroplast. Transformation of C. reinhardtii can be accomplished with either brute force 'bead beating' or the plant vector Agrobacterium tumafaciens although the latter preliminarily appears to be less efficient. Future work will compare these alternative transformation approaches using our Agrobacterium auxotroph system developed for gene delivery to plants (as described in a different talk at this meeting; #194b). This work will ultimately allow for a productivity comparison of transgenic lines to natural isolates for hydrocarbon productivity.