Ecological engineering helps maximize function in algal oil production

Sara L. Jackrel, Anita Narwani, Bastian Bentlage, Robert B. Levine, David C. Hietala, Phillip E. Savage, Todd H. Oakley, Vincent J. Denef, Bradley J. Cardinale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Algal biofuels have the potential to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, but current growing methods fail to produce fuels that meet the multiple standards necessary for economical industrial use. For example, algae grown as monocultures for biofuel production have not simultaneously and economically achieved high yields of the high-quality lipid-rich biomass desired for the industrial-scale production of bio-oil. Decades of study in the field of ecology have demonstrated that simultaneous increases in multiple functions, such as the quantity and quality of biomass, can occur in natural ecosystems by increasing biological diversity. Here, we show that species consortia of algae can improve the production of bio-oil, which benefits from both a high biomass yield and a high quality of biomass rich in fatty acids. We explain the underlying causes of increased quantity and quality of algal biomass among species consortia by showing that, relative to monocultures, species consortia can differentially regulate lipid metabolism genes while growing to higher levels of biomass, in part due to a greater utilization of nutrient resources. We identify multiple genes involved in lipid biosynthesis that are frequently upregulated in bicultures and further show that these elevated levels of gene expression are highly predictive of the elevated levels in biculture relative to that in monoculture of multiple quality metrics of algal biomass. These results show that interactions between species can alter the expression of lipid metabolism genes and further demonstrate that our understanding of diversity-function relationships from natural ecosystems can be harnessed to improve the production of bio-oil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00953-18
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Volume84
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Fingerprint

ecological engineering
oil production
Biomass
Oils
biomass
algae
monoculture
lipid
Biofuels
biofuels
Lipid Metabolism
biofuel
lipid metabolism
oils
Ecosystem
gene
oil
metabolism
alga
Fossil Fuels

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

Cite this

Jackrel, S. L., Narwani, A., Bentlage, B., Levine, R. B., Hietala, D. C., Savage, P. E., ... Cardinale, B. J. (2018). Ecological engineering helps maximize function in algal oil production. Applied and environmental microbiology, 84(15), [e00953-18]. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00953-18
Jackrel, Sara L. ; Narwani, Anita ; Bentlage, Bastian ; Levine, Robert B. ; Hietala, David C. ; Savage, Phillip E. ; Oakley, Todd H. ; Denef, Vincent J. ; Cardinale, Bradley J. / Ecological engineering helps maximize function in algal oil production. In: Applied and environmental microbiology. 2018 ; Vol. 84, No. 15.
@article{2e9034391315431b812598e2a5e94901,
title = "Ecological engineering helps maximize function in algal oil production",
abstract = "Algal biofuels have the potential to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, but current growing methods fail to produce fuels that meet the multiple standards necessary for economical industrial use. For example, algae grown as monocultures for biofuel production have not simultaneously and economically achieved high yields of the high-quality lipid-rich biomass desired for the industrial-scale production of bio-oil. Decades of study in the field of ecology have demonstrated that simultaneous increases in multiple functions, such as the quantity and quality of biomass, can occur in natural ecosystems by increasing biological diversity. Here, we show that species consortia of algae can improve the production of bio-oil, which benefits from both a high biomass yield and a high quality of biomass rich in fatty acids. We explain the underlying causes of increased quantity and quality of algal biomass among species consortia by showing that, relative to monocultures, species consortia can differentially regulate lipid metabolism genes while growing to higher levels of biomass, in part due to a greater utilization of nutrient resources. We identify multiple genes involved in lipid biosynthesis that are frequently upregulated in bicultures and further show that these elevated levels of gene expression are highly predictive of the elevated levels in biculture relative to that in monoculture of multiple quality metrics of algal biomass. These results show that interactions between species can alter the expression of lipid metabolism genes and further demonstrate that our understanding of diversity-function relationships from natural ecosystems can be harnessed to improve the production of bio-oil.",
author = "Jackrel, {Sara L.} and Anita Narwani and Bastian Bentlage and Levine, {Robert B.} and Hietala, {David C.} and Savage, {Phillip E.} and Oakley, {Todd H.} and Denef, {Vincent J.} and Cardinale, {Bradley J.}",
year = "2018",
month = "8",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1128/AEM.00953-18",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "84",
journal = "Applied and Environmental Microbiology",
issn = "0099-2240",
publisher = "American Society for Microbiology",
number = "15",

}

Jackrel, SL, Narwani, A, Bentlage, B, Levine, RB, Hietala, DC, Savage, PE, Oakley, TH, Denef, VJ & Cardinale, BJ 2018, 'Ecological engineering helps maximize function in algal oil production', Applied and environmental microbiology, vol. 84, no. 15, e00953-18. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00953-18

Ecological engineering helps maximize function in algal oil production. / Jackrel, Sara L.; Narwani, Anita; Bentlage, Bastian; Levine, Robert B.; Hietala, David C.; Savage, Phillip E.; Oakley, Todd H.; Denef, Vincent J.; Cardinale, Bradley J.

In: Applied and environmental microbiology, Vol. 84, No. 15, e00953-18, 01.08.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Ecological engineering helps maximize function in algal oil production

AU - Jackrel, Sara L.

AU - Narwani, Anita

AU - Bentlage, Bastian

AU - Levine, Robert B.

AU - Hietala, David C.

AU - Savage, Phillip E.

AU - Oakley, Todd H.

AU - Denef, Vincent J.

AU - Cardinale, Bradley J.

PY - 2018/8/1

Y1 - 2018/8/1

N2 - Algal biofuels have the potential to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, but current growing methods fail to produce fuels that meet the multiple standards necessary for economical industrial use. For example, algae grown as monocultures for biofuel production have not simultaneously and economically achieved high yields of the high-quality lipid-rich biomass desired for the industrial-scale production of bio-oil. Decades of study in the field of ecology have demonstrated that simultaneous increases in multiple functions, such as the quantity and quality of biomass, can occur in natural ecosystems by increasing biological diversity. Here, we show that species consortia of algae can improve the production of bio-oil, which benefits from both a high biomass yield and a high quality of biomass rich in fatty acids. We explain the underlying causes of increased quantity and quality of algal biomass among species consortia by showing that, relative to monocultures, species consortia can differentially regulate lipid metabolism genes while growing to higher levels of biomass, in part due to a greater utilization of nutrient resources. We identify multiple genes involved in lipid biosynthesis that are frequently upregulated in bicultures and further show that these elevated levels of gene expression are highly predictive of the elevated levels in biculture relative to that in monoculture of multiple quality metrics of algal biomass. These results show that interactions between species can alter the expression of lipid metabolism genes and further demonstrate that our understanding of diversity-function relationships from natural ecosystems can be harnessed to improve the production of bio-oil.

AB - Algal biofuels have the potential to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, but current growing methods fail to produce fuels that meet the multiple standards necessary for economical industrial use. For example, algae grown as monocultures for biofuel production have not simultaneously and economically achieved high yields of the high-quality lipid-rich biomass desired for the industrial-scale production of bio-oil. Decades of study in the field of ecology have demonstrated that simultaneous increases in multiple functions, such as the quantity and quality of biomass, can occur in natural ecosystems by increasing biological diversity. Here, we show that species consortia of algae can improve the production of bio-oil, which benefits from both a high biomass yield and a high quality of biomass rich in fatty acids. We explain the underlying causes of increased quantity and quality of algal biomass among species consortia by showing that, relative to monocultures, species consortia can differentially regulate lipid metabolism genes while growing to higher levels of biomass, in part due to a greater utilization of nutrient resources. We identify multiple genes involved in lipid biosynthesis that are frequently upregulated in bicultures and further show that these elevated levels of gene expression are highly predictive of the elevated levels in biculture relative to that in monoculture of multiple quality metrics of algal biomass. These results show that interactions between species can alter the expression of lipid metabolism genes and further demonstrate that our understanding of diversity-function relationships from natural ecosystems can be harnessed to improve the production of bio-oil.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85050963315&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85050963315&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1128/AEM.00953-18

DO - 10.1128/AEM.00953-18

M3 - Article

C2 - 29776927

AN - SCOPUS:85050963315

VL - 84

JO - Applied and Environmental Microbiology

JF - Applied and Environmental Microbiology

SN - 0099-2240

IS - 15

M1 - e00953-18

ER -