Direct measurement and characterization of active photosynthesis zones inside wastewater remediating and biofuel producing microalgal biofilms
Carlson, Ross P
Peyton, Brent M
Cooksey, Kevin E
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Microalgal biofilm based technologies are of keen interest due to their high biomass concentrations and ability to utilize light and CO2. While photoautotrophic biofilms have long been used for wastewater remediation, biofuel production represents a relatively new and under-represented focus area. However, the direct measurement and characterization of fundamental parameters required for industrial control are challenging due to biofilm heterogeneity. This study evaluated oxygenic photosynthesis and respiration on two distinct microalgal biofilms cultured using a novel rotating algal biofilm reactor operated at field- and laboratory-scales. Clear differences in oxygenic photosynthesis and respiration were observed based on different culturing conditions, microalgal composition, light intensity and nitrogen availability. The cultures were also evaluated as potential biofuel synthesis strategies. Nitrogen depletion was not found to have the same effect on lipid accumulation compared to traditional planktonic microalgal studies. Physiological characterizations of these microalgal biofilms identify fundamental parameters needed to understand and control process optimization.
Bernstein HC, Kesaano M, Moll K, Smith T, Gerlach R, Carlson RP, Miller CD, Peyton BM, Cooksey KE, Gardner RD, Sims RC, "Direct measurement and characterization of active photosynthesis zones inside wastewater remediating and biofuel producing microalgal biofilms," Bioresource Technology 156: March 2014 206-215.