Project description:Botryococcus braunii (Chlorophyta) is a green microalga known for producing hydrocarbons and exopolysaccharides (EPS). Improving the biomass productivity of B. braunii and hence, the productivity of the hydrocarbons and of the EPS, will make B. braunii more attractive for industries. Microalgae usually cohabit with bacteria which leads to the formation of species-specific communities with environmental and biological advantages. Bacteria have been found and identified with a few B. braunii strains, but little is known about the bacterial community across the different strains. A better knowledge of the bacterial community of B. braunii will help to optimize the biomass productivity, hydrocarbons, and EPS accumulation. To better understand the bacterial community diversity of B. braunii, we screened 12 strains from culture collections. Using 16S rRNA gene analysis by MiSeq we described the bacterial diversity across 12 B. braunii strains and identified possible shared communities. We found three bacterial families common to all strains: Rhizobiaceae, Bradyrhizobiaceae, and Comamonadaceae. Additionally, the results also suggest that each strain has its own specific bacteria that may be the result of long-term isolated culture.
Project description:Microalgae are widely viewed as a promising and sustainable source of renewable chemicals and biofuels. Botryococcus braunii synthesizes and secretes significant amounts of long-chain (C30 -C40 ) hydrocarbons that can be subsequently converted into gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuel. B. braunii cultures are not axenic and the effects of co-cultured microorganisms on B. braunii growth and hydrocarbon yield are important, but sometimes contradictory. To understand the composition of the B. braunii microbial consortium, we used high throughput Illumina sequencing of metagenomic DNA to profile the microbiota within a well established, stable B. braunii culture and characterized the demographic changes in the microcosm following modification to the culture conditions. DNA sequences attributed to B. braunii were present in equal quantities in all treatments, whereas sequences assigned to the associated microbial community were dramatically altered. Bacterial species least affected by treatments, and more robustly associated with the algal cells, included members of Rhizobiales, comprising Bradyrhizobium and Methylobacterium, and representatives of Dyadobacter, Achromobacter and Asticcacaulis. The presence of bacterial species identified by metagenomics was confirmed by additional 16S rDNA analysis of bacterial isolates. Our study demonstrates the advantages of high throughput sequencing and robust metagenomic analyses to define microcosms and further our understanding of microbial ecology.
Project description:The green alga Botryococcus braunii is capable of the production and excretion of high quantities of long-chain hydrocarbons and exopolysaccharides. In this study, we present the complete plastid and mitochondrial genomes of the hydrocarbon-producing microalga Botryococcus braunii race B (Showa), with a total length of 156,498 and 129,356 bp, respectively.
Project description:Plants react to biotic and abiotic stresses with a variety of responses including the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which may result in programmed cell death (PCD). The mechanisms underlying ROS production and PCD have not been well studied in microalgae. Here, we analyzed ROS accumulation, biomass accumulation, and hydrocarbon production in the colony-forming green microalga <i>Botryococcus braunii</i> in response to several stress inducers such as NaCl, NaHCO<sub>3</sub>, salicylic acid (SA), methyl jasmonate, and acetic acid. We also identified and cloned a single cDNA for the <i>B. braunii</i> ortholog of the <i>Arabidopsis</i> gene <i>defender against cell death 1</i> (<i>DAD1</i>)<i>,</i> a gene that is directly involved in PCD regulation. The function of <i>B. braunii DAD1</i> was assessed by a complementation assay of the yeast knockout line of the <i>DAD1</i> ortholog, oligosaccharyl transferase 2. Additionally, we found that <i>DAD1</i> transcription was induced in response to SA at short times. These results suggest that <i>B. braunii</i> responds to stresses by mechanisms similar to those in land plants and other organisms.
Project description:This study deals with an effective nucleic acids extraction method from various strains of Botryococcus braunii which possesses an extensive extracellular matrix. A method combining freeze/thaw and bead-beating with heterogeneous diameter of silica/zirconia beads was optimized to isolate DNA and RNA from microalgae, especially from B. braunii. Eukaryotic Microalgal Nucleic Acids Extraction (EMNE) method developed in this study showed at least 300 times higher DNA yield in all strains of B. braunii with high integrity and 50 times reduced working volume compared to commercially available DNA extraction kits. High quality RNA was also extracted using this method and more than two times the yield compared to existing methods. Real-time experiments confirmed the quality and quantity of the input DNA and RNA extracted using EMNE method. The method was also applied to other eukaryotic microalgae, such as diatoms, Chlamydomonas sp., Chlorella sp., and Scenedesmus sp. resulting in higher efficiencies. Cost-effectiveness analysis of DNA extraction by various methods revealed that EMNE method was superior to commercial kits and other reported methods by >15%. This method would immensely contribute to area of microalgal genomics.
Project description:Among oleaginous microalgae, the colonial green alga Botryococcus braunii accumulates especially large quantities of hydrocarbons. This accumulation may be achieved more by storage of lipids in the extracellular space rather than in the cytoplasm, as is the case for all other examined oleaginous microalgae. The stage of hydrocarbon synthesis during the cell cycle was determined by autoradiography. The cell cycle of B. braunii race A was synchronized by aminouracil treatment, and cells were taken at various stages in the cell cycle and cultured in a medium containing [(14)C]acetate. Incorporation of (14)C into hydrocarbons was detected. The highest labeling occurred just after septum formation, when it was about 2.6 times the rate during interphase. Fluorescent and electron microscopy revealed that new lipid accumulation on the cell surface occurred during at least two different growth stages and sites of cells. Lipid bodies in the cytoplasm were not prominent in interphase cells. These lipid bodies then increased in number, size, and inclusions, reaching maximum values just before the first lipid accumulation on the cell surface at the cell apex. Most of them disappeared from the cytoplasm concomitant with the second new accumulation at the basolateral region, where extracellular lipids continuously accumulated. The rough endoplasmic reticulum near the plasma membrane is prominent in B. braunii, and the endoplasmic reticulum was often in contact with both a chloroplast and lipid bodies in cells with increasing numbers of lipid bodies. We discuss the transport pathway of precursors of extracellular hydrocarbons in race A.
Project description:Botryococcus braunii is a colonial microalga that appears early in the fossil record and is a sensitive proxy of environmental and hydroclimatic conditions. Palaeozoic Botryococcus fossils which contribute up to 90% of oil shales and approximately 1% of crude oil, co-localise with diagnostic geolipids from the degradation of source-signature hydrocarbons. However more recent Holocene sediments demonstrate no such association. Consequently, Botryococcus are identified in younger sediments by morphology alone, where potential misclassifications could lead to inaccurate paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Here we show that a combination of flow cytometry and ancient DNA (aDNA) sequencing can unambiguously identify Botryococcus microfossils in Holocene sediments with hitherto unparalleled accuracy and rapidity. The application of aDNA sequencing to microfossils offers a far-reaching opportunity for understanding environmental change in the recent geological record. When allied with other high-resolution palaeoenvironmental information such as aDNA sequencing of humans and megafauna, aDNA from microfossils may allow a deeper and more precise understanding of past environments, ecologies and migrations.
Project description:Botryococcus braunii is a colony-forming green alga that accumulates large amounts of liquid hydrocarbons within the colony. The utilization of B. braunii for biofuel production is however hindered by its low biomass productivity. Here we describe a novel bacterial ectosymbiont (BOTRYCO-2) that confers higher biomass productivity to B. braunii. 16S rDNA analysis indicated that the sequence of BOTRYCO-2 shows low similarity (<90%) to cultured bacterial species and located BOTRYCO-2 within a phylogenetic lineage consisting of uncultured alphaproteobacterial clones. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) studies and transmission electric microscopy indicated that BOTRYCO-2 is closely associated with B. braunii colonies. Interestingly, FISH analysis of a water bloom sample also found BOTRYCO-2 bacteria in close association with cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa colonies, suggesting that BOTRYCO-2 relatives have high affinity to phytoplankton colonies. A PCR survey of algal bloom samples revealed that the BOTRYCO-2 lineage is commonly found in Microcystis associated blooms. Growth experiments indicated that B. braunii Ba10 can grow faster and has a higher biomass (1.8-fold) and hydrocarbon (1.5-fold) yield in the presence of BOTRYCO-2. Additionally, BOTRYCO-2 conferred a higher biomass yield to BOT-22, one of the fastest growing strains of B. braunii. We propose the species name 'Candidatus Phycosocius bacilliformis' for BOTRYCO-2.
Project description:The microalga Botryococcus braunii is widely regarded as a potential renewable and sustainable source for industrial applications because of its capability to produce large amounts of metabolically expensive (exo-) polysaccharides and lipids, notably hydrocarbons. A comprehensive and systematic metabolic characterization of the Botryococcus braunii race A strain CCAP 807/2 was conducted within the present study, including the detailed analysis of growth-associated and physiological parameters. In addition, the intracellular metabolome was profiled for the first time and showed growth- and product-specific fluctuations in response to the different availability of medium resources during the cultivation course. Among the identified metabolites, a constant expression of raffinose was observed for the first time under standard conditions, which has until now only been described for higher plants. Overall, the multilayered analysis during the cultivation of strain CCAP 807/2 allowed the differentiation of four distinct physiological growth phases and revealed differences in the production profiles and content of liquid hydrocarbons and carbohydrates with up to 84% of organic dry weight (oDW). In the process, an enhanced production of carbohydrates with up to 63% of oDW (1.36±0.03 g L-1) could be observed during the late linear growth phase, whereas the highest accumulation of extracellular hydrocarbons with up to 24% of oDW (0.66±0.12 g L-1) occurred mainly during the stationary growth phase. Altogether, the knowledge obtained is potentially useful for the general understanding of the overall physiology of Botryococcus braunii and provide important insights into the growth behavior and product formation of this microalga, and is thus relevant for large scale biofuel production and industrial applications.
Project description:Botryococcene biosynthesis is thought to resemble that of squalene, a metabolite essential for sterol metabolism in all eukaryotes. Squalene arises from an initial condensation of two molecules of farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) to form presqualene diphosphate (PSPP), which then undergoes a reductive rearrangement to form squalene. In principle, botryococcene could arise from an alternative rearrangement of the presqualene intermediate. Because of these proposed similarities, we predicted that a botryococcene synthase would resemble squalene synthase and hence isolated squalene synthase-like genes from Botryococcus braunii race B. While B. braunii does harbor at least one typical squalene synthase, none of the other three squalene synthase-like (SSL) genes encodes for botryococcene biosynthesis directly. SSL-1 catalyzes the biosynthesis of PSPP and SSL-2 the biosynthesis of bisfarnesyl ether, while SSL-3 does not appear able to directly utilize FPP as a substrate. However, when combinations of the synthase-like enzymes were mixed together, in vivo and in vitro, robust botryococcene (SSL-1+SSL-3) or squalene biosynthesis (SSL1+SSL-2) was observed. These findings were unexpected because squalene synthase, an ancient and likely progenitor to the other Botryococcus triterpene synthases, catalyzes a two-step reaction within a single enzyme unit without intermediate release, yet in B. braunii, these activities appear to have separated and evolved interdependently for specialized triterpene oil production greater than 500 MYA. Coexpression of the SSL-1 and SSL-3 genes in different configurations, as independent genes, as gene fusions, or targeted to intracellular membranes, also demonstrate the potential for engineering even greater efficiencies of botryococcene biosynthesis.