The promise of low carbon intensive algal biotechnology is dependent on reducing energy-expensive steps in the process. Harvesting (dewatering) dilute microalgal cultures in a low-energy manner is a longstanding problem in the field. Flocculation and skimming are the two preferred approaches but usually require expensive and polluting flocculants.

Objective/mission (The vision): To identify and prove the viability of strategies for rapid aggregation in algal production strains and realise low energy harvesting opportunities.

Research approach (The initiative): CRISPR will be used to create inducible promoter modules for naturally occurring cell adhesion molecules from the strain or from related species. A common inexpensive signal will be used to initiate the aggregation process.

Impacts and applications: Part of a global project to create algal super-production strains, this step will allow us to eliminate a key energy-intensive step in algal biotechnology and simplify plant equipment.

Project members

Key contacts

Professor Ben Hankamer

Director, IMB Centre for Solar Biotechnology
Professorial Research Fellow - GL
Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Dr Ian Ross

Senior Biologist
Institute for Molecular Bioscience