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

Professorial Research Fellow
Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Dr Ian Ross

Senior Biologist
Institute for Molecular Bioscience