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Comparative metabolomics of non-toxic microalgae

People Involved

Dr Joseph Palmer
KTP Associate

Project Description

In this project, comparative untargeted-metabolomic and biochemical profiling will be performed on 4 largely-uncharacterised non-toxic microalgae stains with commercial/environmental significance, representing the distinct genera (Cyanothece, Pseudanabaena, Tisochrysis and Pavlova). Ultra-performance liquid chromatography- mass spectrometry, along with various bioinformatic tools (i.e. METLIN, MetaboAnalyst, ChromaLynx) will used to investigate the metabolomes of these stains, with the aim of producing key metabolomic and biochemical data, identification of potentially novel, strain-specific metabolites of pharmaceutical interest, and to utilise software such as MetaboCraft to visualise metabolomic pathways for improved understanding of microalgal biochemistry. Sample processing and data analysis will be conducted by Dr Joseph Palmer in the CyanoSol group at Robert Gordon University, which boasts a suit of state-of-the-art analytical instruments and a wealth of experience in metabolite identification/purification from natural sources. Dr Karl Burgess of the University of Edinburgh will not only provide expert guidance for the robust, effective analysis of the metabolomic data, but will assist with training on his 3D biochemical pathway mapping software, MetaboCraft, which will allow immersive visualisation of metabolic networks, permitting enhanced understanding of the complex biochemical pathways from large, complex metabolomic datasets. This is essential to help underpin knowledge of the metabolic systems in these microalgae and may instigate further research into these strains for the production of biofuels, pharmaceuticals and other biotechnological applications. The project will utilise proven, tested methods for microalgal culture and metabolite extraction mitigating any risks associated with sample preparation or quality. Machine breakdown is one foreseeable risk to successful completion, although all instruments are on service contracts, minimising the risk of downtime.

Status Project Live
Funder(s) Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance
Value £2,570.00
Project Dates Jan 1, 2020 - Jun 30, 2021

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