Boussiba, Sammy
Professor, 2001

Research interests

1) Haematococcus - a model organism to study biotechnological approaches for the utilization of high value products from microalgae. The research concerns studies of fundamental aspects involved in cell morphology and structure, molecular and cellular aspects in the carotenogenesis process, and large-scale production of astaxanthin rich Haematococcus.

Watch a movie clip: Green algae pink salmon

2) Integrated Desert Aquaculture Biosystems
Deserts and arid regions provide excellent alternative environment to the growing aquaculture industry. Water is a major limiting factor in the development of desert regions. Some deserts areas, however, are rich in geothermal brackish water which, is drawn from artesian and other deep wells. To justify the high costs involve in pumping and distributing water in the desert it is necessary to optimize water potential. Combining agricultural fields' irrigation with the cultivation of marine aquaculture organisms such as, algae fish and shrimp is the ultimate option to this challenge. Integrated and sustainable aquaculture supports the idea which was best described earlier as the "chain of users" where different products can be cultured using the same limited water while preserving the environment and eliminating effluent problems. It is the sustainability of water use that promotes the sustainability of dryland development and contributes to the success of the combat against desertification (desertification- land degradation of dryland resulting from utilizing and developing drylands by employing practices leading to economic non-sustainability.

Watch a movie clip: Oasis in the desert

3) N2-fixing cyanobacteria - potential applications: Research is focused on the application of N2-fixing cyanobacteria as biological vectors to encounter environmental problems. This includes utilization of these algae as biological control agent through cloning of desirable genes such as BTI toxin genes to combat malaria; their application for the biodegradation of pollutants, as well as their use as biofertilizers and soil conditioners.

4) The mechanisms facilitating the survival of Spirulina in extreme alkaline environments. The survival of Spirulina in extreme alkaline environments is one of the most peculiar features of this microalga. We are studying the physiological aspects as well as the biochemical and molecular components involved in this activity.

Recent publications

Solovchenko, A., Khozin-Goldberg, I., Recht, L. and Boussiba, S. Stress-induced changes in optical properties, pigment and fatty acid content of Nannochloropsis sp.: implications for non-destructive assay of total fatty acids. Marine Biotechnology 13: 527-535, 2011.

Pal, D., Khozin-Goldberg, I., Cohen, Z., and Boussiba, S. The effect of light, salinity and nitrogen availability on lipid production by Nannochloropsis sp. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 90: 1429–1441, 2011.

Khozin-Goldberg, I. and Boussiba, S. Concerns over the reporting of inconsistent data on fatty acid composition for microalgae of the genus Nannochloropsis (Eustigmatophyceae) J. Appl. Phycol. 23: 933-934, 2011.

Gutman, J., Zarka, A. and Boussiba, S. Evidence for the involvement of surface carbohydrates in the recognition of Haematococcus Pluvialis by the parasitic blastoclad Paraphysoderma Sedebokerensis. Fungal Biology 115(8): 803-811, 2011.

Peled, E., Leu, S., Zarka, A., Weiss, M., Pick, U., Khozin-Goldberg, I. and Boussiba, S. Isolation of a novel oil globule protein from the green alga Haematococcus pluvialis (Chlorophyceae). Lipids 46(9): 851-861, 2011.

Nath, P., Khozin-Goldberg, I., Cohen, Z., Boussiba, S. and Zilberg, D. Dietary supplementation with the microalgae Parietochloris incisa increases survival and stress resistance in guppy (Poecilia reticulata) fry. Aquacult. nutr. 18: 167-180, 2011.

Guihéneuf F., Leu S., Zarka A., Khozin-Goldberg I., Khalilov I. and Boussiba S. Cloning and molecular characterization of a novel acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1-like gene (PtDGAT1) from the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum FEBS J. 278(19): 3651-3666, 2011.

James, T.Y., Hoffman, Y., Zarka, A. and Boussiba, S. Paraphysoderma sedebokerense, gen. et sp. nov., an aplanosporic relative of Physoderma (Blastocladiomycota). Mycotaxon 118: 177–180, 2011.

Marano, A.V,, Gleason, F.H., Bärlocher, F., Pires-Zottarelli, C.L., Lilje, O., Schmidt, S.K., Rasconi, S., Kagami, M., Barrera, M.D., Sime-Ngando, T., Boussiba, S,, de Souza, J.I. and Edwards, J.E. Quantitative methods for the analysis of zoosporic fungi. J. Microbiol Methods. 89(1): 22-32, 2012.

Grundman, O., Khozin-Goldberg, I., Raveh, D., Cohen, Z., Vyazmensky, M., Boussiba, S. and Shapira, M. Cloning, mutagenesis and characterization of the microalga Parietochloris incisa acetohydroxyacid synthase, and its possible use as an endogenous selection marker. Biotechnol. Bioengin. 109: 2340-2348, 2012.

Recht, L., Zarka, A. and Boussiba, S. Patterns of carbohydrate and fatty acid changes under nitrogen starvation in the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis and Nannochloropsis sp. Appl. Microbiol. & Biotechnol. DOI 10.1007/s00253-012-3940-4, 2012.

Peled, E., Pick, U., Zarka, S., Shimoni, E., Leu, S. and Boussiba, S. Light-induced oil globule migration in Haematococcus pluvialis (Chlorophyceae). Journal of Phycology 48: 1209-1219, 2012.

Solovchenko, A., Aflalo, C., Lukyanov, A. and Boussiba, S. Nondestructive monitoring of carotenogenesis in Haematococcus pluvialis via whole-cell optical density spectra. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 97: 4533-4541, 2013.

Solovchenko, A., Solovchenko, O., Khozin-Goldberg, I., Didi-Cohen, S., Pal, D., Cohen, Z. and Boussiba, S. Probing the effects of high-light stress on pigment and lipid metabolism in nitrogen-starving microalgae by measuring chlorophyll fluorescence transients: Studies with a D5 desaturase mutant of Parietochloris incisa (Chlorophyta, Trebouxiophyceae). Algal Research, 2: 175-182, 2013.

Pal, D., Khozin-Goldberg, I., Didi-Cohen, S., Solovchenko, A., Batushansky, A., Kaye, Y., Sikron, N., Samani, T., Fait, A. and Boussiba, S. Growth, lipid production and metabolic adjustments in the euryhaline Eustigmatophyte Nannochloropsis oceanica in response to osmotic downshift. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 97(18):8291-306, 2013.

Mbukwa, EA., Boussiba, S., Wepener, V., Leu, S., Kaye, Y., Msagati, TAM. and Mamba, BB. PCR amplification and DNA sequence of mcyA gene: The distribution profile of a toxigenic Microcystis aeruginosa in the Hartbeespoort Dam, South Africa. Journal of Water and Health 11(3): 563-572, 2013.

Mbukwa, EA., Boussiba, S., Wepener, V., Leu, S., Kaye, Y., Msagati, TAM and Mamba, BB. Potential use of dissolved cyanobacterial DNA for monitoring toxic Microcystis cyanobacteria in filtered water. J. Phys. Chem. Earth 66: 167-172, 2013.

Solovchenko, A., Lukyanov, A., Solovchenko, O., Didi-Cohen, S., Boussiba, S. and Khozin-Goldberg, I. Interactive effects of salinity, high light and nitrogen starvation on fatty acid and carotenoid profiles in Nannochloropsis oceanica CCALA 804.European J. of Lipid Science and Technology 116(5):635-644, 2014.

Leu, S. and Boussiba, S. Advances in the production of high value products by microalgae. Industrial Biotechnology 10(3): 169-183, 2014.

Shtaida, N., Khozin-Goldberg, I., Solovchenko, A., Chekanov, K., Didi-Cohen, S., Leu, S., Cohen, Z. and Boussiba, S. Downregulation of a putative plastid PDC E1a subunit impairs photosynthetic activity and triacylglycerol accumulation in nitrogen starved photoautotrophic Chlamydomonas reinhardii. Journal of Experimental Botany (in press. MS ID#: JEXBOT/2014/126961), 2014.

Zorin, B., Grundman, O., Khozin-Goldberg, I., Leu, S., Shapira, M., Kaye, Y., Tourasse, N., Vallon, O. and Boussiba, S. Development of a nuclear transformation system for oleaginous green alga Lobosphaera (Parietochloris) incisa and genetic complementation of a mutant strain deficient in arachidonic acid biosynthesis. PLOS ONE (in press. PONE-D-14-15870R1/journal pone.0105223), 2014.

Recht L., Töpfer N., Batushansky A., Sikron N., Gibon Y., Fait A., Nikoloski, Z., Boussiba S. and Zarka A. (2014) Metabolite profiling and integrative modeling reveal metabolic constraints for carbon partitioning under nitrogen- starvation in the green alga Haematococcus pluvialis. J.B.C., DOI: 10 1074/jbc.M114.555144, 2014.

Tourasse, N.J., Barbi, T., Waterhouse, J.C., Shtaida, N., Leu, S., Boussiba, S., Purton, S. and Vallon, O. The complete sequence of the chloroplast genome of the green microalga Lobosphaera (Parietochloris) incisa . J. Mitochondrial DNA (in press) , 2014.