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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2015 Feb;112(2):288-96. doi: 10.1002/bit.25362. Epub 2014 Oct 10.

Simple processes for optimized growth and harvest of Ettlia sp. by pH control using CO2 and light irradiation.

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Environmental Biotechnology Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Daejeon, 305-806, Korea; Department of Biological Science, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, Korea.


Microalgae cultures show wide range of pH depending on the availability of light and CO2 for their strain specific photosynthesis. Thus, the modulation of light irradiation and CO2 supply can be applied for the pH control of microalgae cultures. The optimal pH of Ettlia sp. YC001, for phototrophic growth and auto-flocculation was investigated by controlling light irradiation and 10% CO2 supply. Ettlia sp. YC001 showed the highest biomass productivity, 96.7 mg L(-1)  d(-1) , at pH 8.5. The flocculating activity of Ettlia sp. YC001 showed a sigmoid pattern with pH increase and was above 70% at pH 10.5. Based on these differentiated optimal pH regimes for the growth and flocculation, an integrated process consisting of cultivation and settling vessels was proposed. The integrated process demonstrated that high flocculation activity of Ettlia sp. YC001 could be achieved in the settling vessel with various hydraulic retention times by only irradiation of light to maintain high pH while maintaining the optimal growth in cultivation vessel with the light irradiation and CO2 supply at pH 8.5. Thus, the proposed strategy for pH control would provide a simple, cost-effective, and flexible design and operation for microalgae cultivation-harvest systems.


Ettlia sp. YC001; auto-flocculation; carbon dioxide; light irradiation; pH control

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