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Discovery of a Diatom That Oozes Oil

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Diadesmis confervacea produces substantial amounts of oil which could be utilized as biofuel. We discovered that oil exocytoses spontaneously from cells of D. confervacea, a new observation for diatoms. Morphological observation shows about 50% of cultured diatoms oozing oil by the 10th day of culture and about 80% oozing by the end of a month. When the 31st day plates were subcultured on fresh media they resumed active growth, division and oil production and oozing in a similar manner over the following month. GCMS (gas chromatographymass spectrometry) results showed formation of free fatty acids at retention time peak 12.91 minutes and FAME (fatty acid methyl esters) at retention time peak 18.32 minutes upon transesterification. Spontaneous oozing greatly reduces the cost of algal fuels, as separation of the oil from the cells has hitherto been an expensive, fuel requiring process, and makes it easier to design diatom biofuel solar panels.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2014

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  • ADVANCED SCIENCE LETTERS is an international peer-reviewed journal with a very wide-ranging coverage, consolidates research activities in all areas of (1) Physical Sciences, (2) Biological Sciences, (3) Mathematical Sciences, (4) Engineering, (5) Computer and Information Sciences, and (6) Geosciences to publish original short communications, full research papers and timely brief (mini) reviews with authors photo and biography encompassing the basic and applied research and current developments in educational aspects of these scientific areas.
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