Worcester Polytechnic Institute Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection

Title page for ETD etd-011013-133818


Document Typethesis
Author NameCollatos, Angelo Robert
URNetd-011013-133818
TitleTransformation, Growth, and the Cytoskeleton: Tools to Study Oil Producing Algae
DegreeMS
DepartmentBiology & Biotechnology
Advisors
  • Dr. Luis Vidali, Advisor
  • Dr. Pamela Weathers, Committee Member
  • Dr. Joseph Duffy, Department Head
  • Keywords
  • microalgae
  • biodiesel
  • toxicity assay
  • microgrowth assay
  • growth assay
  • protoplasting
  • protoplast
  • electroporation
  • transformation
  • kinesin
  • cytoskeleton
  • oil producing algae
  • Date of Presentation/Defense2012-12-21
    Availability restricted

    Abstract

    With the current state of climate change and world peak oil on the horizon, it is important to focus our research efforts on alternative sources of energy. Ethanol obtained from the digestion of biomass (bioethanol) and oil harvesting from algae (biodiesel) are two promising fields of study for transportation fuel production. However, in their current state of development, neither option is capable of reasonably replacing the transportation fuel demand for this country. The land demand needed is too large for either process to become a viable option, albeit the land demand for biodiesel is considerably smaller than that of bioethanol. Therefore, when moving forward with alternative transportation fuel, harvesting oil from algae is a more promising option.

    Therefore, I investigated oil producing green algae to better understand algal growth, the algal cytoskeleton, and tried to establish a methodology to genetically manipulate algae. I developed a microgrowth assay in order to investigate algal growth and proliferation, while at the same time using considerably less material and space. This assay can directly monitor algal growth in response to media contents, and overcomes many of the limitations of existing microassays due to its use of solid media agar and fluorescent imaging. I also investigated algal genetic manipulation with the intention of creating a standard operating procedure, which could lead to further investigation of how to increase lipid output and increase lipid harvesting cycles through studying lipid production and cell division. Electroporation and PEG mediated transformation were the two chief methods investigated for nuclear transformation. Lastly, I performed an algal kinesin phylogenetic study to characterize the currently available algal kinesin superfamily, providing insight to proteins that are important for cell division as well as other functions within this superfamily. Kinesins 5, Kinesin 7s Class II and Class V, and Kinesin 14 Class I were identified to be important for algal cell division, while Kinesin 8, 12, 11, and some orphan kinesins will require further investigation due to their unknown plant function. Overall, this research provides a foundation for future algal studies required for optimal oil production necessary for a more sustainable future.

    Files
  • (WPI)Collatos.pdf

    (WPI) indicates that a file or directory is accessible from the WPI campus network only.


  • Browse by Author | Browse by Department | Search all available ETDs

    [WPI] [Library] [Home] [Top]

    Questions? Email etd-questions@wpi.edu
    Maintained by webmaster@wpi.edu