Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers have isolated a microalgal strain which produces large amounts of a polyunsaturated fatty acid that could reduce blood pressure, chronic inflammation and blood cholesterol level, reducing the risk for heart attacks.
A research team at BGU's Landau Family Microalgal Biotechnology Lab in the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR) headed by Prof. Zvi HaCohen, is studying an algal mutant that is capable of accumulating up to 15 percent (of dry weight) of a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) called DGLA (Dihomo-ã-Linolenic Acid). The new strain, IKG-1, is a freshwater microalga that the researchers believe is the only known plant source capable of producing such significant amounts of DGLA.
"Omega-6 PUFA are necessary as components of brain cell membranes and have various nutritional uses," explains HaCohen, incumbent of the Maks and Rochelle Etingin Chair in Desert Research and rector-elect at BGU. "DGLA is one of these PUFA, but appears in nature only as an intermediate in the biosynthesis of other compounds and does not accumulate to any appreciable concentration. There is no natural source for DGLA and although its beneficial effects are well known, very few clinical studies have been conducted."
The research team also included the director of the Landau Laboratory, Prof. Sammy Boussiba; director of the BIDR Prof. Avigad Vonshak; Dr. Inna Khozin-Goldberg; and Ph.D. student Pushkar Shrestha.
"The significant discovery of the IKG-1 microalgal mutant and its high content of DGLA could impact treatment of life-threatening diseases, such as chronic inflammations, multiple sclerosis and arteriosclerosis," explains Dr. Ora Horovitz, vice president of business development for BGN Technologies, the technology transfer and commercialization subsidiary of BGU.
"Our Microalgal Biotechnology Laboratory continues to be a leading innovator in its work on microalgae and its products harnessing Negev resources, such as brackish water and highly abundant sunlight. BGU is continuing to develop valuable pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, as well as biofuels and other potential alternative energy sources."
About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision, creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. With more than 19,000 students on campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and Eilat in Israel's southern desert, BGU is a university with a conscience, where the highest academic standards are integrated with community involvement, committed to sustainable development of the Negev. For more information, please visit www.aabgu.org.
Andrew Lavin | EurekAlert!
Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis
23.01.2017 | Massachusetts General Hospital
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering