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Harnessing chain-forming diatoms for improved lipid biofuel production (DECRA - Dr Justin Ashworth)

Funding: 2016: $116,300
2017: $116,000
2018: $115,900

Funding or Partner Organisation: Australian Research Council (ARC DECRA Scheme)

Start year: 2016

Summary: Diatoms are prolific producers in the ocean, and the next generation workhorse for the production of algal biofuels. The formation of multicellular chains appears key to the success of some of the most widespread and productive diatom species. Through a combination of systems biology, bioinformatics, and genetics experiments, this project aims to investigate the relationship between chain formation and biofuel lipid productivity in Chaetoceros diatoms, and to discover genes and molecules that encode and influence these traits. The knowledge and technology generated as a result may improve biofuel yields, increase the robustness of species growing in open pond systems, and reduce processing costs such as de-watering.


Jaramillo-Madrid, AC, Ashworth, J, Fabris, M & Ralph, PJ 2019, 'Phytosterol biosynthesis and production by diatoms (Bacillariophyceae)', Phytochemistry, vol. 163, pp. 46-57.
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FOR Codes: Biofuel (Biomass) Energy, Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences, Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences, Microbial Ecology, Phycology (incl. Marine Grasses), Environmental Marine Biotechnology, Biofuel energy