Study of biotechnological potential of extremophilic and extremotolerant algae and cyanobacteria

Name: Study of biotechnological potential of extremophilic and extremotolerant algae and cyanobacteria
Researchers: Cepák Vladislav (member of research team)
Kvíderová Jana (member of research team)
Lukavský Jaromír (head – principal researcher)
Project Type: D - minor international projects and bilateral agreements
Realization from: 2014
Realization to: 2017
Summary: So far, the studies conducted in the field of experimental algology have shown that once placed at relatively unfavourable or even harsh physico-chemical conditions some microalgae and cyanobacteria display prominent survival strategies and abilities. Most of their adaptation mechanisms are connected with synthesis of unique substances, which are of increasing interest of biotechnology, for using in pharmaceutical and food industries as well as in medicine, for the last years. The overall biotechnological research of a certain microalgal species is a multidisciplinary task, consisting of investigations in several directions and steps – from the selection of the right microalgal strain via its physiologo-biochemical characteristics to the design of installations for its mass cultivation. The present project aims to establish the biotechnological potential of scarcely-studied or unexplored microalgae and cyanobacteria, from extreme and special conditions, e.g cryoseston, thermal springs, salt lakes, wet walls, industrial localities as nuclear power station, etc. because of the perspective for their future applications in the production of algal biomass, rich in valuable substances for human. Selecting the prospective strains is a multi-step procedure, it includes isolation of strains from natural samples, their systematic identification (based on polyphasic approach) and introduction into laboratory cultures. Cultivation of the isolated microalgal strains is connected with determination of the optimal growth conditions such as temperature, light intensity and growth medium. The planned studies in the present project include algal systematic, physiology and biochemistry as well as biophysics of photosynthesis. The tasks for achieving the aim are as follows: 1. Isolation of microalgal strains from extreme habitats, maintenance of the isolated strains into the collection and introduction into laboratory cultures. The experience of phycologists from the Czech Academy of Sciences, Inst. Botany is a crucial moment. 2. Cultivation at different laboratory conditions, resembling these in the natural habitats as well as simulation of some stress factors using e.g. crossed gradients procedure, mini-bioassay, etc. 3. Physiology-biochemical characteristics of the strains by determination of qualitative and quantitative changes in the biomass after cultivation at various conditions: studying the lipid metabolism, enzyme activity analyses, measuring the amount of valuable metabolites (pigments, unsaturated fatty acids, phycobiliproteins, biologically active substances etc.). The long experience of the scientists from Experimental Algology Department - IPPG in the field of plant physiology and in particular in ecophysiology and biochemistry of algae will be of use during the maintaining of this task. 4. Determination of photosynthetic parameters (oxygen evolution, characterization of the electron transport and redox potential of photosystem II) of microalgae, grown under different environmental conditions. The experimental work with the yellow-green microalga Trachydiscus minutus (isolated from nuclear power plant station), which has not been completely studied yet, will be continued. A great interest from a biotechnological point of view has been observed over the past few years for this alga, prospective as poly-unsaturated fatty acids, especially EPA, producer. The cooperative patent of participants from the both institutes (Institute of Botany - AS ČR and Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics - BAS) is a good basis for further estimation of the biotechnological potential of Trachydiscus. That relates to the scientific program of a PhD student from IPPG-BAS, who is expected to have a public thesis defence during the course of the project

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