Biomass oil from Malaysian peat! Japan’s euglena unveils groundbreaking findings

Image is for illustrative purposes

Japanese bio-venture euglena Co, Ltd with RIKEN (a large Japanese research institute) and a Malaysian university research team succeeded in identifying and isolating a new lipid-producing, acid-tolerant algae: Tetratostichococcus, from Malaysian peatlands.
The research results have been published in the Journal of Applied Phycology (22 May 2022).

‘Identification’ here refers to determining the taxonomic*1 affiliation of an animal or plant. And ‘isolation’ means extracting and separating specific cells, genes, proteins, etc., from a living organism, biological tissue or microbial group.

In this study, the isolated Tetratostichococcus shows a high growth rate under acidic and slightly alkaline pH conditions and accumulates high contents of long-chain fatty acids with carbon numbers of 16-18.
Long-chain fatty acids are fatty acids with 11 or more carbons in the molecule known for their versatility, making them easy to refine into products like diesel fuel.

Japan relies mostly on imported energy resources from abroad. When it comes to liquefied natural gas (LNG), for example, 13.6% of Japan’s imports come from Malaysia. By country, that is the second-highest LNG volume for Japan.

This research shows promise, as it has the potential to produce low-cost biomass for possible fuel applications.
In addition to LNG, bilateral relations between Japan and Malaysia may grow stronger and closer through energy resources.

*1 taxonomic: a system for naming and organizing things, especially plants and animals, into groups that share similar qualities.

Isolation and characterization of acid-tolerant Stichococcus-like Microalga (Tetratostichococcus sp. P1) from a tropical peatland in Malaysia. J Appl Phycol (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10811-022-02762-7

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