Microalgae have tremendous potential as a renewable feedstock for the production of liquid transportation fuels. In natural waters, the importance of physical associations and biochemical interactions between microalgae and bacteria is generally well appreciated, but the significance of these interactions to algal biofuels production have not been investigated. Here, we provide a preliminary report on the frequency of co-occurrence between indole-3-acetic acid (IAA)-producing bacteria and green algae in natural and engineered ecosystems. Growth experiments with unicellular algae, Chlorella and Scenedesmus, revealed IAA concentration-dependent responses in chlorophyll content and dry weight. Importantly, discrete concentrations of IAA resulted in cell culture synchronization, suggesting that biochemical priming of cellular metabolism could vastly improve the reliability of high density cultivation. Bacterial interactions may have an important influence on algal growth and development; thus, the preservation or engineered construction of the algal–bacterial assembly could serve as a control point for achieving low input, reliable production of algal biofuels.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/tanyasoule/17/