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Title: Direct measurement and characterization of active photosynthesis zones inside biofuel producing and wastewater remediating microalgal biofilms

Abstract: Microalgal biofilm based technologies are of keen interest due to their high biomass concentrations and ability to utilize renewable resources, such as light and CO2. While photoautotrophic biofilms have long been used for wastewater remediation applications, biofuel production represents a relatively new and under-represented focus area. However, the direct measurement and characterization of fundamental parameters required for physiological analyses are challenging due to biofilm heterogeneity. This study evaluated oxygenic photosynthesis and biofuel precursor molecule production using a novel rotating algal biofilm reactor (RABR) operated at field- and laboratory-scales for wastewater remediation and biofuel production, respectively. Clear differences in oxygenic-photosynthesis, respiration and biofuel-precursor capacities were observed between the two systems and different conditions based on light and nitrogen availability. Nitrogen depletion was not found to have the same effect on lipid accumulation compared to prior planktonic studies. Physiological characterizations of these microalgal biofilms identify potential areas for future process optimization.
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Bioresource Technology, 156:206-215
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
BIOFUELS; PHOTOSYNTHESIS; RESPIRATION Microalgae; Biofilm; Biofuel; Wastewater Remediation; Photosynthesis; Respiration