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Cultivation of algal biofilm using different lignocellulosic materials as carriers

Zhang, Qi, Liu, Cuixia, Li, Yubiao, Yu, Zhigang, Chen, Zhihua, Ye, Ting, Wang, Xun, Hu, Zhiquan, Liu, Shiming, Xiao, Bo, Jin, Shiping
Biotechnology for biofuels 2017 v.10 no.1 pp. 115
algae, biofilm, biofuels, biomass production, chemical composition, commercialization, feedstocks, lignocellulose, lipids, microscopy, photobioreactors, prices, roughness, sawdust, surface roughness
BACKGROUND: Algal biofilm technology is recently supposed to be a promising method to produce algal biomass as the feedstock for the production of biofuels. However, the carrier materials currently used to form algal biofilm are either difficult to be obtained at a low price or undurable. Commercialization of the biofilm technology for algal biomass production extremely requires new and inexpensive materials as biofilm carriers with high biomass production performances. RESULTS: Four types of lignocellulosic materials were investigated to evaluate their performance of acting as carriers for algal cells attachment and the relevant effects on the algal biomass production in this study. The cultivation of algal biofilm was processed in a self-designed flat plate photo-bioreactor. The biofilm production and chemical composition of the harvested biomass were determined. The surface physics properties of the materials were examined through a confocal laser-scanning microscopy. Algal biomass production varied significantly with the variation of the carriers (P < 0.05). All the lignocellulosic materials showed better performances in biofilm production than poly methyl methacrylate, and the application of pine sawdust as the carrier could gain the maximum biofilm productivity of 10.92 g m⁻² day⁻¹ after 16-day cultivation. In addition, 20.10–23.20% total lipid, 30.35–36.73% crude proteins, and 20.29–25.93% carbohydrate were achieved from the harvested biomasses. Biomass productivity increased linearly as the increase of surface roughness, and Wenzel’s roughness factor of the tested materials, and surface roughness might significantly affect the biomass production through the size of surface morphology and the area of surface (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The results showed that lignocellulosic materials can be efficient carriers for low-cost cultivation of algal biofilm and the enhancement of biomass productivity.