Method to Increase Algal Biomass and Enhance its Quality for the Production of Fuel


Executive Summary


Biodiesel is a popular alternative to fossil fuels. Most biodiesel is made from conversion of plant material, particularly edible plants that may otherwise be used as food sources. An excellent alternative would be algal biodiesel production. Algae can be grown on marginal lands that would not be used for food production, and are more productive for biodiesel applications.


Description of Technology


This technology increases oil production in algae or land plants by overexpression of a membrane remodeling gene that exports fatty acids from the plastic for triacylglycerol biosynthesis. When overexpressed, this gene significantly increases oil production in microalgae. This mutation would be beneficial for biodiesel production in algae.


Key Benefits

  • Improve algal biofuel production This particularly improves mono-unsaturated fatty acid content, which is preferred for biodiesel production
  • Non-competitive with food crops Algae can be grown on marginal lands
  • Broad applicability this gene can also be used in other bacterial and even plant species.



  • Biofuel production in enclosed algae bioreactors
  • High oil production in land plants
  • Improving freeze tolerance of plants


Patent Status:


Patent issued No US9315838B


Licensing Rights Available


Full Licensing Rights Available




Christoph Benning, Xiaobo Li, Bensheng Liu, Min Hao Kuo, Barbara Sears


Tech ID:




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University