Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-15-2020


Microalgae are of interest for the creation of sustainable and cost competitive alternatives to petroleum-based fuels and chemicals. However, cultivation, extraction and processing of algal biomass requires improved yields to achieve economic feasibility. The advancement of microalgal biotechnology and various genetic engineering techniques allow the improvement of microalgae biomass for this purpose. Here, the characterization of the overexpression of the native vacuolar H+ pumping pyrophosphate (AVP1) in Picochlorum soloecismus was examined. AVP1 overexpression causes biomass increase in relevant plant crops. When overexpressed in this microalga it increases carbon storage in the form of starch in a closed laboratory photobioreactor. However, this increase in carbohydrate was not seen in small open raceway ponds. Future work should focus on optimizing growth conditions for this mutant due to its beneficial accumulation of carbohydrates in a closed laboratory system.

Project Sponsors

DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office




genetic engineering, biofuels, carbon storage, AVP1, overexpression

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

David Hanson

Second Committee Member

Taraka Dale

Third Committee Member

Rebecca Bixby