Open ponds are the preferred cultivation system for large-scale microalgal biomass production. To be more sustainable, commercial scale biomass production should rely on seawater, as freshwater is a limiting resource, especially in places with high irradiance. If seawater is used for both pond fill and evaporative volume makeup, salinity of the growth media will rise over time. It is not possible for any species to achieve optimum growth over the whole saline spectrum (from seawater salinity level up to salt saturation state). In this study, we investigated the effects of gradual salinity increase (between 35 and 233 ppt) on biomass productivity and biochemical composition (lipid and carbohydrate) of six marine, two halotolerant, and a halophilic microalgae. A gradual and slow stepped salinity increase was found to expand the salinity tolerance range of tested species. A gradual reduction in biomass productivity and maximum photochemical efficiency was observed as a consequence of increased salinity in all tested species. Among the marine microalgae, Tetraselmis showed highest biomass productivity (32 mg L−1 day−1) with widest salinity tolerance range (35 to 109 ppt). Halotolerant Amphora and Navicula were able to grow from 35 ppt to 129 ppt salinity. Halophilic Dunaliella was the only species capable of growing between 35 and 233 ppt and showed highest lipid content (56.2%) among all tested species. This study showed that it should be possible to maintain high biomass in open outdoor cultivation utilizing seawater by growing Tetraselmis, Amphora, and Dunaliella one after another as salinity increases in the cultivation system.
Journal of Applied Phycology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 11, 2018
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