PUNE: The discovery of a new species of macroalgae along the coast at south Goa could open up vast reserves of biofuel besides providing raw material for anti-cancer drugs.
A variety of macro algae was last discovered some 45 years back in… the coastal region of Chennai.
“Such macroalgae can be a rich source of biomass,” said Felix Bast, principle investigator and scientist at the Centre for Biosciences, Central University of Punjab. “Macro algae or seaweed changes its morph frequently and hence it is extremely tough to record or find out about various species,” Bast said.
Algae larger than 100 micrometre in size is termed a macro algae, or seaweed, in layman’s language. The new species has been named Cladophora goensis Bast after the researcher who found it. Green marine algae is responsible for the phenomenon of the massive green tides occurring in Goa, due to the explosive growth of seaweeds.
“This is a rapidly growing algae which cultivates in marine areas only and in water with salinity greater than 30ppm,” said Bast. “Apart from the possibility of this being used as a raw material for biofuel, it can be cultivated and used in the production of FDA-approved anti-cancer drugs,” he added.
The team of researchers including Felix Bast and his students Aijaz Ahmad John and Satej Bhushan used DNA sequencing techniques to establish their findings.
The researchers said this bloom forming algae needs some hard sub-strata or rock-like substance to grow on and was seen to be growing on mooring lines, buoys, hulls of wooden dinghies and intertidal substrata, including natural rocks and concrete breakwaters. Its morphological characters distinguish it from its earlier species including the green pigment- chloroplast- containing organic cell.
Photo caption: Algae larger than 100 micrometre in size is termed a macro algae, or seaweed, in layman’s language. The new species has been named Cladophora goensis Bast after the researcher who found it.
Meenakshi Rohatgi, Economic Times
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