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2014 News in Brief



Ocean Microbes’ Hidden Talent

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Chisholm (right) and Biller (left)Although algae produce large quantities of lipids that can be extracted and converted into biodiesel, breaking apart the algae to recover the lipids is costly and energy-intensive. Recent research in Penny Chisholm’s lab on the oceanic bacterium Prochlorococcus determined that it naturally releases vesicles containing related fatty oils. Even better, the vesicles could be collected without destroying the cells. While the lipids in the vesicles are not the optimal kind for making biofuels, postdoctoral associate Steven Biller notes that Prochlorococcus is “a good model to use in exploring the mechanisms that control the formation and extrusion of vesicles and determine their content.” Read the full MIT News story: