The effects of cultivation depth, areal density, and nutrient level on lipid accumulation of Scenedesmus acutus in outdoor raceway ponds

Everett Eustance, Joshua T. Wray, Shahrzad Badvipour, Milton R. Sommerfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lipid accumulation is critical in the production of biodiesel from microalgae. However, little work has been done on the assessment of lipid accumulation during nitrogen stress in large research-scale outdoor raceways during different seasons; most values for lipid accumulation are assumptions based on work completed in laboratory settings or outdoor photobioreactors. This study focused on the use of raceway ponds operated in batch cultivation mode with an area of 30.37 m<sup>2</sup> to determine the impacts of nitrate-nitrogen concentration and cultivation depth on the ability of Scenedesmus acutus strain LB 0414 to accumulate lipids. A concentration of less than 60 mg N-NO<inf>3</inf><sup>−</sup> L<sup>−1</sup> was required for removal of nitrogen in the cultivation medium within 8 days to stimulate lipid accumulation and increase lipid productivity. When nitrate concentrations were increased to prevent nitrogen depletion, lipid productivity decreased, which demonstrates that stressing is needed to induce lipid accumulation for increased lipid productivity. Additionally, decreasing cultivation depth below 9 cm, compared to raceways operated at a depth of 20–24 cm, increased lipid productivity by 62 % in December 2014 and 38 % in February 2015. More desirable environmental conditions, mainly increased sunlight and temperature, in February, increased biodiesel productivity for all raceways and account for the decrease in productivity differences. This research highlights increased lipid productivity found by reducing cultivation depth and nitrogen concentrations in outdoor raceways and provides insight into the optimal conditions for large-scale biodiesel production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Sep 10 2015

Keywords

  • Areal productivity
  • Lipid accumulation
  • Microalgae
  • Raceways
  • Scenedesmus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science

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