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J Biotechnol. 2012 Nov 30;162(1):156-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2012.06.031. Epub 2012 Jul 10.

Direct approach for bioprocess optimization in a continuous flat-bed photobioreactor system.

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Plant Biochemistry, Faculty of Biology & Biotechnology, Ruhr University Bochum, D-44780 Bochum, Germany.


Application of photosynthetic micro-organisms, such as cyanobacteria and green algae, for the carbon neutral energy production raises the need for cost-efficient photobiological processes. Optimization of these processes requires permanent control of many independent and mutably dependent parameters, for which a continuous cultivation approach has significant advantages. As central factors like the cell density can be kept constant by turbidostatic control, light intensity and iron content with its strong impact on productivity can be optimized. Both are key parameters due to their strong dependence on photosynthetic activity. Here we introduce an engineered low-cost 5 L flat-plate photobioreactor in combination with a simple and efficient optimization procedure for continuous photo-cultivation of microalgae. Based on direct determination of the growth rate at constant cell densities and the continuous measurement of O₂ evolution, stress conditions and their effect on the photosynthetic productivity can be directly observed.

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