In India, a team of 14 scientists from Korea, Spain, and India found a way to increase biofuel from algae by 30% by unearthing a “gatekeeper” that regulates biofuel yields in algae. “This metabolic gatekeeper in algae is akin to what Heimdall does in the Avengers, regulating who enters Asgard,” said Rishiram Ramanan, the lead author and assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Central University of Kerala.
Dr Ramanan told New India Times that they “knock down the gatekeeper — called the phosphoinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) — and found that the lipid in mutant algae increased by 20% to 30%. Lipids are fats or natural oils, from which biodiesel is produced.”
“The discovery has huge ramification in the global research for biofuel from algae,” he said. “The cost factor is what is keeping biofuel from algae still in the lab. And our study has obvious biotechnological and evolutionary implications in cutting down cost,” he said.