Two new endemic and bloom-forming algal species, named Ulva paschima Bast and Cladophora goensis Bast were discovered off the west coast of India.
The discovered species have excellent carbon capture properties, that is, they are capable of absorbing carbon dioxide from atmosphere and reduce global warming.
These species were discovered by Dr. Felix Bast and two research students working with him Satej Bhushan and Aijaz Ahmad John from the Central University of Punjab, Bhatinda. The findings were published in the journals PLOS One and Indian Journal of Marine Sciences.
These two species were determined by using a mix of morphological as well as molecular characteristics. Molecular evidence was particularly strong because the nearest match is less than 90 per cent sequence identity.
This is the first molecular study on Indian algae, and first algal species discovery for last 40 years.
Importance of the discovery
• It can further the research on use of algae as a potential candidate for carbon sequestration as they grow at a high rate and can also absorb atmospheric CO.
• These two species of algae can also be used as bio fuels.
• Its cultivation will not lead to any bio invasion, that is, it will not overgrow local flora and thus will not wreak havoc on the local habitats. This is because these species of algae are endemic to the western coast of India.
• The cultivation of these species does not require use of fertilisers or presticides or any expensive cultivation systems such as photobioreactors. They are capable of spontaneous growth along the shoreline and can sequester CO.
• The discovery of these species can aid in production of pharmaceutical products from algae similar to the algal species Kahalalide-F, which is used in clinical trials against prostate and breast cancers. Kahalalide-F isolated from Bryopsis, is closely related green algae to Cladophora as well as Ulva.
Where: Off the west coast of India