Plankton lipidomics - Task 7.1
The very complex fatty acid metabolism is undoubtedly one of the resources from biodiversity, microalgae and marine protists that is most easily applicable in the long term. Some of these fatty acids are characterized by an exceptional molecular diversity with variable lengths of even or odd numbers of carbon atoms (8 to more than 36 carbons), linear or branched with double bonds, oxidations, rings, etc.
These fatty acids are potential sources of biotechnology applications (hydrophobic polymers, microstructured materials), biomedical (anti-inflammatory, anti cell proliferation, anti-cancer) or in the domain of fuel substitutes (biofuels).
AcylUniverse, a database to screen and interpret the lipid diversity of the oceans.
The enormous amount of -omics and meta-omics data acquired by the working group on genetic data from Tara Oceans samples, as well as from reference organisms is being explored to reveal the presence of genes encoding enzymes or regulators of metabolic pathways potentially useful in the industrial sector. For this, a specific database, AcylUniverse has been improved and adapted to the extreme richness and complexity of fatty acid metabolism. Bioinformatics pipelines have been developed for high-speed scanning of the genes involved in the synthesis of these compounds. The knowledge generated will be used to select choice strains for research of bioactive compounds (Tasks 7.2 and 7.3).
High throughput phenotyping for identifying lipid producing strains.
In conjunction with the high-speed imaging platform set up in the framework of Working Group 3 (Production and primary analysis of imaging data), a protocol was developed for screening protist samples from the Tara Oceans expedition to identify cells with high lipid content. Based on the current use of the fluorescent dye Nile Red, this protocol has other screening characteristics allowing parallel acquisition of information about cell structures. Integrating the environmental and genetic data on these same samples (Working groups 2 and 4) will identify environmental conditions favoring the occurrence of planktonic cells with high lipid content.