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Development of a breeding system in Chlamydomonas moewusii for improved production strains

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0018781
Agency Tracking Number: 237402
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 08c
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001771
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-07-02
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-04-01
Small Business Information
10704 Prospect Ave, Suite C
Santee, CA 92071-4521
United States
DUNS: 078494624
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Stephen Mayfield
 (858) 822-7743
Business Contact
 Jesse Traller
Phone: (760) 822-8277
Research Institution
 UC San Diego, Scripps Inst. of Oceanography
 Stephen Mayfield
9500 Gilman Drive Biological Sciences
La Jolla, CA 92093-0368
United States

 (858) 822-7743
 Nonprofit College or University

For economically viable large-scale production of microalgae based food and biofuel to become a reality, significant improvements in algal productivity need to be achieved. With current regulatory guidelines, large scale outdoor cultivation of microalgae for these products restricts the use of transgenic algal strains, which in the laboratory, have thus far been the primary strategy taken to effectively increase lipid and growth productivity. Traditional breeding methods would enable development of non-GMO improved algal strains. Though highly successful for increasing crop yields in terrestrial plants, breeding strategies to improve overall productivity have been under-studied in microalgae production. This project will build off of the laboratory based methods developed to breed green algae, and will develop new strains within the Chlamydomonas genus that possess improved carbonate salt and pH tolerance – two key traits required for fast, robust growth outdoors. The genetic and phenotypic diversity within the Chlamydomonas genus combined with the well-developed protocols to induce and control the sexual cycle allow for the opportunity to create elite, high yielding production quality strains, without the use of genetic engineering. In Phase I, several different isolates of Chlamydomonas containing desired phenotypic traits, such has high pH and high salt tolerance, will be bred and tested for improved growth under outdoor growth conditions. Species within the Chlamydomonas genus have long been used to conduct interspecific crossings in order to answer basic scientific questions, but there has been little application of this classic technology toward improving and developing outdoor production strains. Due to the significant work already conducted in Chlamydomonas genetics, this project is low-risk with high reward, and seeks to reframe the research to be focused on optimization for outdoor production. Phase II work will be focused on developing new traits to further boost productivity, such as higher innate lipid content and resistance to predation, and taking these strains outdoors at a large-scale production facility to demonstrate this increased productivity. This methodology, which uses traditional breeding to develop robust production strains, will ultimately boost aerial productivity in outdoor algal systems, further increasing the feasibility of this industry to provide commercial scale alternative food and fuel sources to the United States.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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