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Brooklyn College

Synergy 4 Aids Biofuel Research In Algae

14-March-11

Dr. Jüergen Polle researches stress physiology with microalgae at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. Miocroalgae examples include unicellular green algae, diatoms and cyanobacteria. By focusing on regulation of isoprenoid and lipid metabolism, Dr. Polle is shedding light on algae as a potential biofuel source.

One bottleneck that Dr. Polle’s lab previously faced was screening microalgae strains that had been isolated from various collected samples. This was a laborious and time-consuming project; including fluorescence microscopy of every single algae isolate using the fluorophore Nile Red to determine relative lipid content. For a few samples, the process was manageable, but as he was developing a high-throughput screening method, "performing fluorescence microscopy on thousands of samples was out of the question."

Ms. Sophia Registe and Mr. Andy Huang

 Ms. Sophia Registe and Mr. Andy Huang

Dr. Polle knew that a microplate format and microplate reader would manage the increased workload effectively, and wanted a reader that could measure absorbance at 750 nm, fluorescent Nile Red excitation/emission at approximately 488/560 nm, and fluorescent chlorophyll excitation/emission at approximately 488/690 nm. As luck would have it, a Department of Biology colleague recently purchased a Synergy™ 4 Multi-Mode Microplate Reader, which, along with a host of other features, could meet all of Dr. Polle's criteria.

Dr. Polle recalls that the instrument was fast and easy to use, and it took less than one hour for lab personnel to learn the procedure and program the Synergy 4. The Synergy 4 enabled his team to reduce the protocol time required for measurements of relative lipid (triacylglyceride) contents in single algae isolates. Dr. Polle notes, "With BioTek’s Synergy 4, I feel satisfied because the instrument is user-friendly, and even undergraduates can perform experiments with it, thus providing high user flexibility."

 

 To learn more about Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, visit their web site.
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