MKU signs agreement with US start-up

[India, USA]Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) on Saturday signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with Algoma Algal Biotechnology (AABT), a limited liability company (LLC) started through the research work at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (UWO) in the US, for mutual transfer of knowledge and technology in the field of producing biofuel from microalgae, a statement issued by MKU said.

University sources said Toivo Kallas, a Distinguished Professor of Microbial Genetics and Biotechnology at UWO and the CEO of AABT, whose research include photosynthetic energy conversion reactions and environmental responses of cyanobacteria and microalgae, took interest in the research work led by P. Varalakshmi, an Assistant Professor with Department of Molecular Biology in MKU.Ms. Varalakshmi said that her team had identified certain strains of different varieties of microalgae, which have shown great potential in usage as feedstock for production of biofuel.

According to her, Mr. Kallas and his team, who were working at a technologically advanced level in the field, wanted to collaborate on the possibility of using genetic engineering and other techniques to improve the efficiency of energy conversion by the strains of microalgae identified by her team. “The idea is to move towards commercialised production of bio-fuel from microalgae,” she added.

According to the statement, Mr. Kallas said that alternate feedstock for fuel resources has gained utmost importance in the world, owing to fast depletion of fossil fuels and he expected the collaboration with MKU to open up new arenas in exploration of carbon dioxide (CO2) mitigation strategies.

Stating that promotion of scientific research has always been a part MKU, P.P. Chellathurai, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said that this collaboration, however, was a milestone in MKU’s history since it was on an important area of biofuel, which has significance in addressing the pressing issue of climate change.

V. Chinniah, Registrar, signed the agreement on behalf of the university.

 

Photo: Toivo Kallas of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and a team from Madurai Kamaraj University on the occasion of signing a memorandum of understanding on Saturday.

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