Main content area

Freshwater microalgae niche of air carbon dioxide mitigation

Ramaraj, Rameshprabu, Tsai, David Dah-Wei, Chen, Paris Honglay
Ecological engineering 2014 v.68 pp. 47-52
air, biomass, carbon, carbon cycle, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide fixation, carbon sinks, ecosystems, freshwater, microalgae
The effectiveness of the niche of freshwater algae as a remover of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the ecosystem, and its potential to perpetuate carbon cycle are to be systematically investigated. In this study, using unsupplemented natural freshwater medium, we investigated the freshwater microalgal sequestration of atmospheric CO2 in the laboratory. The microalgal fixation of carbon, calculated by mass balance, showed that the freshwater microalgal CO2 uptake rate could reach 175mg/L/day, with a CO2 consumption efficiency over 100%. We found that the natural freshwater medium system achieved much higher carbon fixation efficiency than artificial media which used CO2 as the sole carbon source. This study demonstrated that in natural freshwater medium, the extent of microalgal carbon fixation transcended the substrate limitation by directly absorbing CO2 from air and thus the carbon in the microalgal biomass (100%) was solely derived from atmosphere. Furthermore, our results suggested that the freshwater microalgal carbon fixation could account for a significant portion of the “remaining unidentified” carbon sink.