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Background

It has been known that Spirulina has significantly potential as sources of protein and high-value chemicals such as essential fatty acids, e.g. linoleic acid and -linolenic acid (GLA), including the photosynthetic pigments e.g. chlorophyll a and phycocyanin. Currently, Spirulina has more widely markets for health food, animal food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical product.

The Algal Biotechnology research group at KMUTT has started an interest in Spirulina around 1987 since the discovery of Spirulina growing profusely in a stabilization pond of tapioca starch wastewater and Thailand climate is suited in large scale for Spirulina cultivation. With financial support from the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), the research begun from the use of tapioca starch wastewater as (a) substrate for cultivation in order to reduce production costs.  Since then the research group has focused on developments of mass cultivation techniques to obtain high productivity, extraction processes of lipid/phycocyanin in pilot scale, and also understanding the physiological factors influenced biomass and high value chemicals, and molecular biology.

Spirulina consortium was set up in 2002 by BIOTEC, Nation Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and Algal Biotechnology Laboratory, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi. The purpose of Spirulina consortium is to bring together the private sectors who involve in cultivation, trading and the research in order to help strengthen the private sectors.

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Goals and Objectives

  1. To develop technologies needed for microalgal cultivation and also develop suitable strains for commercial purpose.
  2. To understand the biosynthesis of high value chemicals from Spirulina.
  3. To use Spirulina as a plant model for the study of stress response, photosynthesis and respiration.
  4. To promote university-industry linkage in algal biotechnology.

Current R&D

1. Mass cultivation of Spirulina and microalgae

- Obtain the maximum benefit from the product by manipulation of culture conditions
-  Study the physiological factors stimulating biomass and high value chemical production and develop the mathematic model to predict the interest products.
-  Obtain the suitable strains for outdoor cultivation according to the photosynthetic characteristics
- Develop the mathematic model to predict biomass



2. High value chemicals

- Study on stress response
- Extraction of lipid and phycocyanin in pilot scale techniques

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3. Molecular biology

- Mechanism of the desaturase enzyme and phycocyanin
- Proteomic 
- Genomic
- Transformation

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Technology Transfer algal5.jpg

  • Outdoor mass cultivation of Spirulina at commercial scale
  • High value chemical production/extraction from Spirulina


Products and Services

  • Consulting

    With a strong background and research experience in algal technology, our group is in a unique position to offer consulting and knowledge transfer to private organizations. The scope of consulting ranges from mass cultivation techniques and lipid/phycocyanin extraction processes to the design of reactors.

  • Training Courses

    Training courses in the field of algal technology are regularly offered to both the academic and private sectors. Top researchers in the field from overseas are often invited as guest speakers in these courses. The topics most commonly covered are physiology and biotechnology especially for mass cultivation of microalgae and uses of Spirulina biomass and its high valued chemicals.

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Publications

National  Journal

  1. Kunsuk, J., Ruengjitchawalaya, M., Chaiklahan, R.,Hongsthong, A., Bunnag, B. and Tanticharoen, M. 2004  “Effect of  berberine on fatty acid composition in plasma and thylakoid  membrane in Spirulina sp. Journal of Scientific Research Chulalongkorn University (Section T), 1, 279-286.
  2. Chaiklahan, R., Khonsarn, N., Chirasuwan, N., Ruengjitchatchawalya, M. Bunnag, B. and Tanticharoen, M. 2007 “Response of Spirulina platensis C1 to High Temperature and High Light Intensity” Kasetsart  J. (Nat. Sci.) 41 (1):123-129.
  3. Prommeenate, P., Kurdrit, P. Sirijuntarut, M. and Hongsthong, A. 2007 “Expression of Fatty Acid Desaturase Enzymes from Cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis in Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae” Kasetsart  J. (Nat. Sci.)  41 (1):130-135.
  4. Chirasuwan, N., Chaiklahan, R., Ruengjitchatchawalya, M., B. Bunnag and Tanticharoen, M. 2005 “Anti HSV-1 Activity of Spirulina platensis Polysaccharide” Kasetsart  J. (Nat. Sci.)  41(2): 311-318.

International  Journal

  1. Subudhi, S., Kurdrid,P., Hongsthong, A., Sirijuntarut, M., Cheevadhanarak, S. and Tanticharoen, M. 2008 “Isolation and functional characterization of Spirulina D6D gene promoter: Role of a putative GntR transcription factor in transcriptional regulation of D6D gene expression” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 365: 643-649.
  2. Wattana Jeamton, W., Mungpakdee, S., Sirijuntarut, M., Prommeenate, P., Cheevadhanarak, S., Tanticharoen, M. and Hongsthong, A. 2008 “A combined stress response analysis of Spirulina platensis in terms of global differentially expressed proteins, and mRNA levels and stability of fatty acid biosynthesis genes” FEMS Microbiology Letters 281(2), 121–131.
  3. Hongsthong, A., Sirijuntarut, M., Prommeenate, P., Thammathorn, S., Bunnag, B., Cheevadhanarak, S. and Tanticharoen, M. 2007 “Revealing differentially expressed proteins in two morphological forms of Spirulina platensis by proteomic analysis” Molecular Biotechnology 36:123-130.
  4. Kurdrid, P., Subudhi, S., Cheevadhanarak, S., Tanticharoen, M. and Hongsthong, A. 2007 “Effect of two intermediate electron donors, NADPH and FADH2, on Spirulina Δ6-desaturase co-expressed with two different immediate electron donors, cytochrome b5 and ferredoxin, in Escherichia coli” Mol. Biol. Rep. 34: 261-266.
  5. Hongsthong A., Subudhi, S., Sirijuntarut, M., Kurdrid, P. and Cheevadhanarak, S. 2006.  Revealing the complementation of ferredoxin by cytochrome b5 in Spirulina-6-desaturation reaction by N-terminal fusion and coexpression of fungal-cytochrome b5 domain and Spirulina-6-acyl-lipid desaturase. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 72:1192-1201.
  6. Kurdrit, P., Subudhi, S., Hongsthong, A., Ruengjitchatchawalya, M. and Tanticharoen, M. 2005 “Functional expression of Spirulina -6-desaturase gene in Yeast Saccharomyces  cerevisiae”  Mol. Biol. Reports, 32(4):215-226.
  7. Ruengjitchatchawalya, M., Kovács, L., Mapaisansup, T., Sallai, A., Gombos, Z., Ponglikitmongkol, M. and Tanticharoen, M. 2005 “Higher plant-like fluorescence induction and thermoluminescence characteristics in cyanobacterium, Spirulina mutant defective in PQH2 oxidation by cytb6/f complex”  Journal of Plant Physiology, 162: 1123-1132.
  8. Hongsthong, A., Subudhi, S., Sirijuntarat, M. and Cheevadhanarak, S. 2004 “Mutation study of conserved amino acid residues of Spirulina 6-acyl-lipid desaturase showing involvement of histidine 313 in the regioselectivity of the enzyme. App. Microbiol. Biotechnol.66: 74-84.
  9. Hongsthong, A., Paithoonrangsarid, K., Phapugrangkul, P., Deshnium, P., Sirijuntarat, M., Subhudhi, S., Cheevadhanarak, S. and Tanticharoen, M. 2004 “The expression of three desaturase genes of Spirulina platensis  in Escherichia coli DH5–Heterologous expression of Spirulina-desaturase genes, Mol. Biol. Reports. 31: 177-189.
  10. Hongsthong, A., Deshnium, P., Paitoonrangsarid, K., Cheevadhanarak, S. and Tanticharoen, M. 2003. “Differential Responses of Three Acyl-Lipid Desaturases to Immediate Temperature Reduction Occurring in Two Lipid Membranes of Spirulina platensis Strain C1” J. Biosci. Bioeng.  96(6), 519-524.
  11. Hongsthong, A., Deshnium, P., Paitoonrangsarid, K., Phapugrangkul, P., Tanticharoen, M. and Cheevadhanarak, S. “Effect of temperature on the desaturase genes translation in Spirulina platensis  C1.” Journal of Applied  Phycology. . (Proceeding)
  12. Ruengjitchatchawalya, M., Chirasuwan, N., Chaiklahan, R., Bunnag, B., Deshnium, P. and Tanticharoen, M. 2002. “Photosynthetic characteristics of a mutant of Spirulina plantensis.” Journal of Applied  Phycology. 14: 71-76.
  13. Meesapyodsuk, D., Reed, D.W., Cheevadhanarak, S., Deshnium, P. and  Covello,P.S. 2001. “Probing the mechanism of a cyanobacterial  9 fatty acid desaturase frome Spirulina platensis C1 (Arthrospira sp. PCC9438)” Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology PartB. 129: 831-835.
  14. Deshnium, P., Paitoonrangsarid, K., Suphatrakul, A., Meesapyodsuk, D., Tanticharoen, M. and Cheevadhanarak, S. 2000 “Temperature-independent and dependent expression of desaturase genes in filamentous cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis C1 (Arthrospira sp PCC9438).” FEMS Micro. Lett.184:207-213.
  15. Nomsawai, P., Tandeau. de Marsac, N., Claude Thomas, J., Tanticharoen, M. and Cheevadhanarak, S. 1999 “Light regulation of phycobilisome structure and gene expression in Spirulina platensis C1 (Arthrospira sp. PCC9438)” Plant Cell Physioloy.40(12): 1194-1202.
  16. Vonshak, A., Kancharaksa, N., Bunnag, B. and Tanticharoen, M.1996 “Role of light and photosynthesis on the acclimation process of the cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis to salinity stress” Journal of Applied  Phycology.. 8:119-124.
  17. Vonshak, A., Chanawongse, L., Bunnag, B. and Tanticharoen, M.1996 “Light acclimation and photoinhibition in three Spirulina platensis (cyanobacteria) isolates”. Journal of Applied  Phycology.  8:35-40.
  18. Vonshak, A., Chanawongse, L., Bunnag, B. and Tanticharoen, M.1995 “Physiological characterization of Spirulina platensis isolates: Response to light and salinity” Plant Physiology. 14:161-166.
  19. Tanticharoen, M., Reungjichachawali, M., Boonag, B., Vonktaveesuk, P., Vonshak, A. and Cohen, Z. 1994 “Optimization of -linolenic acid (GLA) production in Spirulina platensis”. Journal of Applied  Phycology.  6:295-300.
  20. Chanawongse, L., Lee, Y.K., ., Bunnag, B. and Tanticharoen, M. 1994 “Productivity of the cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis in cultures using sunlight” Bioresource Technology. 48:143-148.
  21. Cohen, Z, Reungjichachawali, M., Siangdung, W. and Tanticharoen, M. 1993. Production and partial purification of -linolenic acid and some pigments from Spirulina platensis. Journal of Applied  Phycology. 5:109-115.
  22. Cohen, Z, Reungjichachawali, M., Siangdung, W., Tanticharoen, M. and Heimer, Y.M. 1993 “Herbicide-resistant lines of microalgae: growth and fatty acid composition” Phytochemistry 34(4): 973-978.
  23. Tanticharoen, M., Bunnag, B. and Vonshak, A. 1993 “Cultivation of  Spirulina using Secondary treated starch wastewater” Australasian Biotechnology. 3:223-226.

Advisors

  • Prof. Dr. Morakot Tanticharoen  
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sakarindr Bhumiratana

Staff

  • Assoc.Prof. Boosya Bunnag  
  • Asst. Prof.Dr. Supapon Cheevadhanarak
  • Asst. Prof.Dr. Marasri Ruengjitchatchawalya 
  • Dr. Wipawan Siangdung
  • Dr. Apiradee Hongsthong
  • Dr. Kalyanee Paithoonrangsarid
  • Dr. Peerada Prommeenate
  • Mrs.Wattana  Jeamton
  • Ms.Ratana  Chaiklahan
  • Mrs.Matura   Sirijuntarut
  • Ms. Nattayaporn Chirasuwan
  • Ms. Sudarat Dulsawat
  • Ms. Tippawan Mapaisansup
  • Mrs. Pavinee  Kurdrit
  • Ms. Rayakorn Yutthanasirikul


Address

Algal Biotechnology Laboratory
Pilot Plant Development and Training Institute
King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi
83  Moo. 8  Thakham, Bangkhuntien
Bangkok  10150, Thailand
 

 
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