A New Strategy to Elevate Productivity of Microalgae Cultivation: SPMC Regime

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By Milthon Lujan

China.- Researchers in Wuhan Botanical Garden recently established a sequential phototrophic–mixotrophic cultivation (SPMC) strategy to improve the yield of microalgae cultured in open raceway pond. The new culture method has been succeeded in its commercial-scale application to lipid-rich microalgae biomass production. This is of great importance to the algal biofuel community.

By investigating the specific characteristics of Carbon and Nitrogen demand during phototrophic growth of the microalga Graesiella sp. WBG-1, Prof. LI Yeguang and his colleagues identified a window period suitable for culturing the microalga mixotrophically.

They suggested the SPMC strategy based on this window period to tackle the two fundamental problems of microalgae cultivation: (i) low productivity of photoautotrophic growth, and (ii) bacterial contamination in open outdoor systems.

The SPMC regime increased Graesiella biomass and lipid productivity by more than 50% in a 1000 m2 raceway pond, compared to phototrophic cultivation, while bacterial reproduction was restrained at a low level.

The SPMC strategy is well-examined and can be considered a next step towards sustainable and durable algal cultivation, not only for high-efficient large-scale biofuel production, but also for production of high-value chemicals, such as astaxanthin.

This research was supported by the National High-tech R&D Program of China and the Science and Technology Service Network Initiative of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Reference (free):
Xiaobin Wen, Huanping Tao, Xinan Peng, Zhongjie Wang, Yi Ding, Yan Xu, Lin Liang, Kui Du, Aoqi Zhang, Caixia Liu, Yahong Geng and Yeguang Li. 2019. Sequential phototrophic–mixotrophic cultivation of oleaginous microalga Graesiella sp. WBG-1 in a 1000 m2 open raceway pond. Biotechnology for Biofuels 12:27
https://doi.org/10.1186/s13068-019-1367-1 https://biotechnologyforbiofuels.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13068-019-1367-1 

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Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences

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