Phaectory: Good reasons for a new chassis

Diatoms are of great ecological relevance because they are responsible for up to 20% of the global CO2 fixation and generate about 40 % of the marine biomass of primary producers (Falkowski et al., 1998, Field et al., 1998). Diatoms also represent an important source of lipids and silicate. This makes them attractive for various biotechnological applications e.g. in biofuel industry, food industry and bioplastics. The widely spread diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum is particularly interesting. It is robust and exists in three different morphotypes: Oval, triradial and fusiform whereupon the latter one is the most common appearance. Its entire genome has been sequenced, an easy transfection medthod (Apt et al., 1996) is well established as well as protocols for the cultivation are available. Taking this into account it appeared to us as the perfect organism to produce complex proteins for the iGEM competition.