Continuous culture methodology for the screening of microalgae for oil

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A basic criterion in the selection of microalgae suitable as source of oil for biodiesel should be their actual capacity to produce lipids or, more properly, the fatty acid yield. Performance assessment of 10 preselected microalgae under both batch and continuous culture points to the latter approach as the most adequate for evaluating fatty acid productivity. Differences were patent in continuous culture among strains that otherwise had analogous oil accumulation potential under batch culture. Some promising strains under batch culture (like Muriella aurantiaca and Monoraphidium braunii) exhibited, however, values for actual fatty acid productivity lower than 40mgL-1d-1 in continuous regime. The analysis performed in photochemostat under continuous culture regime revealed the great potential of Chlorococcum olefaciens, Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata and Scenedesmus almeriensis as oil producing microalgae. Fatty acid productivity levels over 90mgL-1d-1 were recorded for the latter strains under moderate nitrogen limitation, conditions which led to an enrichment in saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, a more suitable profile as raw material for biodiesel. The continuous culture methodology employed represents a sound procedure for screening microalgae for biofuel production, providing a reliable evaluation of their fatty acid production capacity, under conditions close to those of outdoor production systems.




Del Río, E., Armendáriz, A., García-Gómez, E., García-González, M., & Guerrero, M. G. (2015). Continuous culture methodology for the screening of microalgae for oil. Journal of Biotechnology, 195, 103–107.

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