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Effects of nutrients and light intensity on the growth and biochemical composition of a marine microalga Odontella aurita

Xia, Song, Wan, Linglin, Li, Aifen, Sang, Min, Zhang, Chengwu
Chinese journal of oceanology and limnology 2013 v.31 no.6 pp. 1163-1173
arachidonic acid, bioactive properties, biomass production, bioreactors, cell growth, eicosapentaenoic acid, fatty acid composition, glass, harvest date, human nutrition, light intensity, lipid content, microalgae, nitrogen, nutrients, phosphorus, ponds, protein content, silicon, sulfur
Algal biotechnology has advanced greatly in the past three decades. Many microalgae are now cultivated to produce bioactive substances. Odontella aurita is a marine diatom industrially cultured in outdoor open ponds and used for human nutrition. For the first time, we have systematically investigated the effects of culture conditions in cylindrical glass columns and flat-plate photobioreactors, including nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, silicon, and sulfur), light intensity and light path, on O. aurita cell growth and biochemical composition (protein, carbohydrate, β-1,3-glucan, lipids, and ash). The optimal medium for photoautotrophic cultivation of O. aurita contained 17.65 mmol/L nitrogen, 1.09 mmol/L phosphorus, 0.42 mmol/L silicon, and 24.51 mmol/L sulfur, yielding a maximum biomass production of 6.1–6.8 g/L and 6.7–7.8 g/L under low and high light, respectively. Scale-up experiments were conducted with flat-plate photobioreactors using different light-paths, indicating that a short light path was more suitable for biomass production of O. aurita. Analyses of biochemical composition showed that protein content decreased while carbohydrate (mainly composed of β-1,3-glucan) increased remarkably to about 50% of dry weight during the entire culture period. The highest lipid content (19.7% of dry weight) was obtained under 0.11 mmol/L silicon and high light conditions at harvest time. Fatty acid Profiles revealed that 80% were C₁₄, C₁₆, and C₂₀, while arachidonic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) accounted for 1.6%–5.6% and 9%–20% of total fatty acids, respectively. High biomass production and characteristic biochemical composition Profiles make O. aurita a promising microalga for the production of bioactive components, such as EPA and β-1,3-glucan.