Algal Biotechnology news

Dr Mike Packer at work
11 April 2012

Marsden funding for Cawthron scientist

Cawthron's algal technologies specialist Dr Mike Packer was part of a successful application in this years' prestigious Marsden Fund round for a collaborative project with Dr Benoit Guieysse of Massey University to conduct research on better understanding the mechanism and rate of nitrous oxide (N2O) production from a variety of algae.

Established in 1994, Marsden Fund research benefits society as a whole by contributing to the development of researchers and supports research excellence in science, engineering and maths, social sciences and the humanities.

With intense competition for grants, Marsden is regarded as the hallmark of excellence for research in New Zealand.

With the current worldwide investment into the development of algae biotechnologies and biofuels, the reason this research is so important is the recently discovered possibility that microalgae could release significant amounts of nitrous oxide (N2O) - which is 298 times more green-house gas potent than CO2.

"We need to be able to understand the process by which N2O emissions may occur during commercial algae cultivation, and provide a measure for determining the volume of what could be expected in terms of its emission," Dr Packer says.

Dr Packer has expertise in biological production of oxides of nitrogen. Cawthron algal production facilities will be used in part of the project that will also engage two PhD Students.

The knowledge gained through Cawthron's research on algal N2O emissions could be a catalyst for a rethink in the rapidly growing microalgae industry.

Find out more about this research:

Contact Mike Packer.