Does growing Nannochloropsis sp. in innovative flat plate photobioreactors result in changes to fatty acid and protein composition?
Journal of Applied Phycology
Electron Science Research Institute
© 2020, Springer Nature B.V. Solar cultivation of microalgae in photobioreactors is a valuable bioprocess for the sustainable production of commercially useful metabolites. However, the conventional culture temperature control method in solar closed photobioreactors of evaporative cooling is neither economical nor sustainable. In this study, a novel spectrally selective, insulated glazed flat plate (IGP) photobioreactor employing an infrared reflecting system embedded in the illumination surface was used for cultivation of Nannochloropsis sp. The impact of the temperature control technology on protein, lipid, carbohydrate content and fatty acid profile of Nannochloropsis sp. was investigated and compared to closed photobioreactors using passive evaporative cooling (PEC) and an infrared reflecting film (IRF) on the surface as well as an open raceway pond (ORP). Among all cultivation systems tested, the biochemical composition of biomass (mg g−1 organic biomass) showed a general trend of lipid > protein > carbohydrate, with no large variation of each across treatments. However, the areal and volumetric productivities of these constituents were significantly higher in the photobioreactors than in the ORP; results consistent with biomass productivity data. Of the major saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids present, only the proportion of C16:0, which is 24% higher in the photobioreactors than in the ORP, changed significantly among cultivation systems. The highest content of high-value dietary fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5n-3; 15.5%) and ϒ-linolenic acid (C18:3n-6; 8%) were found in the ORP but were similar to that produced in the IGP (15.9 and 3.4%, respectively). Among all photobioreactors, the IGP had the least diel temperature changes and an EPA content that was 21% higher than PEC. Photobioreactors constructed with spectrally selective materials effectively allow management of internal reactor temperature with no significant negative impact on biochemical and fatty acid profiles of microalgae.