Association/Company: Università degli Studi di Verona
Nico Betterle is a researcher at SOLE Lab (Prof. Matteo Ballottari, UNI-VR). His studies are focused on the production of high value-added molecules in microalgae and plants grown in controlled indoor systems. Nico has been Project Scientist in the lab of prof. Anastasios Melis at University of California Berkeley (>4 years). Previously he was a Post-Doc researcher in the lab of Prof. Roberto Bassi (UNI-VR). He holds a BSc (2007) and a PhD in Industrial and Environmental Molecular Biotechnology (2011) from UNI-VR.
Obtaining more from microalgae
Engineering of fast-growing microalgae for the synthesis of high added value molecules
The industrial-scale production of high added value molecules in microalgae is limited by the growth performance of the latter in industrial systems. A strain of prokaryotic microalgae, Synechococcus PCC 11901, has recently been discovered, showing exceptional properties, suitable for large-scale cultivation. Infact, this microalga, using light and carbon dioxide, is a) capable of accumulating algal biomass in large quantities, b) has a rapid duplication rate, c) grows in soils with a high salt concentration and d) is genetically manipulable. In this presentation, I will show preliminary results of metabolic engineering of Synechococcus PCC 11901 aimed at the production of astaxanthin, a high added value ketocarotenoid that is not normally produced in this microalgal strain.