AG Lohr – Algal Pigments
Although often neglected due to the microscopic size of most species, algae are major players in the global carbon cycle. In fact, marine algae are responsible for about half of the annual global carbon dioxide fixation. Moreover, all animal life in the sunlit zones of the oceans ultimately relies on algal biomass.
While the photosynthetic apparatus of land plants has a rather uniform pigment pattern, algae have evolved a bewildering diversity of carotenoids that have become particularly important for light harvesting. Despite the importance of these pigments for the ecological success of algae, most of the enzymes involved in their biosynthesis are yet unknown.
Our group is mainly interested in the evolution and biology of algal carotenoids with particular emphasis on their biosynthetic pathways. Aided by comparative genomics, we identify promising candidate genes and characterize their function by biochemical and molecular biological methods including heterologous expression and mutant studies.