A Multi-Omic Characterization of Temperature Stress in a Halotolerant Scenedesmus Strain for Algal Biotechnology

Sara Calhoun, Tisza Szeremy Bell, Lukas Dahlin, Yuliya Kunde, Kurt LaButti, Katherine Louie, Andrea Kuftin, Daniel Treen, David Dilworth, Sirma Mihaltcheva, Christopher Daum, Benjamin Bowen, Trent Northen, Michael Guarnieri, Shawn Starkenburg, Igor Grigoriev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus Citations


Microalgae efficiently convert sunlight into lipids and carbohydrates, offering bio-based alternatives for energy and chemical production. Improving algal productivity and robustness against abiotic stress requires a systems level characterization enabled by functional genomics. Here, we characterize a halotolerant microalga Scenedesmus sp. NREL 46B-D3 demonstrating peak growth near 25 °C that reaches 30 g/m2/day and the highest biomass accumulation capacity post cell division reported to date for a halotolerant strain. Functional genomics analysis revealed that genes involved in lipid production, ion channels and antiporters are expanded and expressed. Exposure to temperature stress shifts fatty acid metabolism and increases amino acids synthesis. Co-expression analysis shows that many fatty acid biosynthesis genes are overexpressed with specific transcription factors under cold stress. These and other genes involved in the metabolic and regulatory response to temperature stress can be further explored for strain improvement.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number333
Number of pages15
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-78199


  • biofuel algae
  • Chlorophyceae
  • genome
  • Scenedesmaceae


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