In cloudy Seattle you might not expect to find many algae companies, but the city’s thriving biotechnology research sector is making it the perfect place for one company to develop stronger, more productive algae that can be used by algae cultivators around the world.
Last week Matrix Genetics opened new offices and laboratory facilities in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, just a few blocks from downtown. The company offered a tour that ABO is officially welcoming into its 2013 Summer of Algae campaign, even though it came just as the leaves were beginning to fall:
Matrix studies algae to bring out characteristics that will make the organisms even more useful for producing renewable fuels, feeds, fertilizers and more. These improvements include higher oil yields, resistance to pathogens and predators, tolerance to a range of environmental conditions and more efficient use of light in photosynthesis. All of these can help algae cultivators grow algae more efficiently, which is exactly the kind of improvement that will help the algae industry succeed.
The new labs are part of an ongoing expansion at Matrix, including several new staff positions. During the tour we were struck by the commitment of the research team not only to the science of algae, but also to its application to global challenges in energy, food and medicine. That commitment goes all the way to the top: Margaret McCormick, CEO at Matrix is currently serving as Chairman of ABO’s Board of Directors.