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Effects of shear stress on microalgae – A review

Chinchin Wang, Christopher Q. Lan
Biotechnology advances 2018 v.36 no.4 pp. 986-1002
Bacillariophyceae, Chlorophyta, Cyanobacteria, Haptophyta, Miozoa, Rhodophyta, aeration, cell viability, cell walls, environmental factors, flagellum, heat transfer, microalgae, mixing, shear stress, stress tolerance, turbulent flow, viscosity
Cultivation of microalgae requires consideration of shear stress, which is generated by operations such as mixing, circulation, aeration and pumping that are designed to facilitate mass and heat transfer as well as light distribution in cultures. Excessive shear stress can cause increased cell mortality, decreased growth rate and cell viability, or even cell lysis. This review examines the sources of shear stress in different cultivation systems, shear stress tolerance of different microalgal species and the physiological factors and environmental conditions that may affect shear sensitivity, and potential approaches to mitigate the detrimental effects of shear stress. In general, green algae have the greatest tolerance to shear stress, followed by cyanobacteria, haptophytes, red algae, and diatoms, with dinoflagellates comprising the most shear-sensitive species. The shear-sensitivity of microalgae is determined primarily by cell wall strength, cell morphology and the presence of flagella. Turbulence, eddy size, and viscosity are the most prominent parameters affecting shear stress to microalgal cells during cultivation.