Using Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to generate electrical current: insight into the cell wall and cell membranes proteomics
Sonia Cruz1, Paolo Bombelli2, and Alison Smith1
1) Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, CB2 3EA, Cambridge, UK.
2) Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, CB2 3EA, Cambridge, UK.
The human population currently use 13 TW of energy per annum and, by 2025, our energy demand is predicted to double. Since over 100,000 TW of solar energy falls on the Earth every year, solar technologies are deemed to be particularly attractive. However, harvesting a large proportion of this solar energy in a cheap and efficient manner poses several technical challenges. At present, silicon based solar photovoltaic cells are the most exploited methods of choice. We have devised an alternative biological photovoltaic system (BPV) where a photosynthetic oxygenic organism used for light capturing is integrated into an electrochemical device. This system works intercepting some metabolic electrons to generate an electron motive force across an external load. The basic principles of this technology have been proven to work, but further efforts are in progress in order to develop the potential of this device. The evaluation of the BPV performance using Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is presented. Proteome studies of the cell wall and cell membranes using C. reinhardtii are being used to understand how electrons are donated from the cellular environment to the external electron mediator.
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