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Title: Cyanobacterial Biofuels: The Blue-Green Revolution.


Abstract not provided.

Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: Proposed for presentation at the Colorado State University Invited Talk held April 27-29, 2015 in Fort Collins, CO.
Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

Ruffing, Anne. Cyanobacterial Biofuels: The Blue-Green Revolution.. United States: N. p., 2015. Web.
Ruffing, Anne. Cyanobacterial Biofuels: The Blue-Green Revolution.. United States.
Ruffing, Anne. 2015. "Cyanobacterial Biofuels: The Blue-Green Revolution.". United States. doi:.
title = {Cyanobacterial Biofuels: The Blue-Green Revolution.},
author = {Ruffing, Anne},
abstractNote = {Abstract not provided.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2015,
month = 4

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  • This article reviews current scientific knowledge on the toxicity and carcinogenicity of microcystins and compares this to the guidance values proposed for microcystins in water by the World Health Organization, and for blue-green algal food supplements by the Oregon State Department of Health. The basis of the risk assessment underlying these guidance values is viewed as being critical due to overt deficiencies in the data used for its generation: (i) use of one microcystin congener only (microcystin-LR), while the other presently known nearly 80 congeners are largely disregarded, (ii) new knowledge regarding potential neuro and renal toxicity of microcystins inmore » humans and (iii) the inadequacies of assessing realistic microcystin exposures in humans and especially in children via blue-green algal food supplements. In reiterating the state-of-the-art toxicology database on microcystins and in the light of new data on the high degree of toxin contamination of algal food supplements, this review clearly demonstrates the need for improved kinetic data of microcystins in humans and for discussion concerning uncertainty factors, which may result in a lowering of the present guidance values and an increased routine control of water bodies and food supplements for toxin contamination. Similar to the approach taken previously by authorities for dioxin or PCB risk assessment, the use of a toxin equivalent approach to the risk assessment of microcystins is proposed.« less
  • A hard-core flashlamp (HCF) which has a coaxial geometry and an array of inverse pinches was evaluated for blue-green laser excitation. The short pulses ({lt}0.5{mu}s) surface discharges were produced across the core insulator of teflon and alumina. The spectral irradiance of the HCF depends on argon fill gas pressure and the core insulating material. The maximum radiative output of the HCF lies in the region of 340--400 nm (the absorption band of LD 490). An LD490 dye laser pumped by a HCF prototype device had an output of 0.9mJ with a pulse width of 0.5{mu}{ital s} (FWHM).
  • The data presented represent an initial, limited attempt on a small scale to cultivate nitrogen-fixing blue-green algae on both chemically defined media and low nitrogen sewage pond effluents. The rates of blue-green algal biomass production were low compared to those of green algae. Nevertheless, it appears that cultivation of nitrogen-fixing blue-green algae is possible on sewage effluents where these algae could be used as a method of tertiary treatment. Unless cold-adapted strains can be isolated, use of these algae may be limited to regions with warmer climates. The endurance of most of the outdoor culture allows optimism that these effluentsmore » are not inhibitory to growth and that supplementation wil be minor. The sensitivity to high light intensities is a factor that limits the maximal productivity of these organisms by requiring that they be cultivated at high density. At 25/sup 0/C, we have attained 6 to 8 g/m/sup 2//day with an eight-day detention time (250 mg/liter) in the spring. This rate can undoubtedly be increased to about 12 g/m/sup 2//day in the summer and possibly twice that at optimal temperatures. This rate would allow such systems to be considered in agricultural fertilizer production. Production of sewage pond effluents suitable for the growth of nitrogen-fixing algae is feasible in one- or two-stage systems fed with sewage influents. In the two-stage system, levels of fixed nitrogen are reduced in a continuously diluted high-rate pond with the growth of green algae. These algae, and the remaining nitrogen, are removed in second-stage batch ponds where a growth or insolation process results in efficient algal settling. It may be possible that complete NH/sub 4//sup +/-N removal and production of rapidly settleable flocs can be achieved in a one-stage system by adjusting the sewage strength with effluent recycling in fast-mixed ponds. 3 figures, 7 tables.« less
  • It was demonstrated that a catalytic, sustained production of hydrogen from water can be carried out under outdoor conditions using a simple glass converter and a stationary blue-green algal culture. This process meets the basic technical requirements of biophotolysis. Improvement in rates of hydrogen production by this system could be achieved by selecting wild-type blue-green algae better suited to hydrogen production and genetically improving the organism for this task. Specific requirements for the algae are tolerance of expected temperature variations, maximum nitrogenase (or, preferably, reversible hydrogenase) activity, increases in vegetative cell photosynthesis through decreased phycocyanin degradation during nitrogen starvation, andmore » increased filament strength. One of the most significant requirements is that the cells continue exhibiting high levels of hydrogen production even when not stirred or mixed. Thermophylic, mat-forming, blue-green algae might provide suitable strains. The actual culture vessels and hydrogen collectors should be arranged horizontally with a gas space, so the carrier gas need not be pushed through a liquid head. The key constraint on a biological solar energy converter is the very low capital and operational costs allowable. A simple calculation shows that, if 3% of incident energy in the Southwest United States were converted to hydrogen, only 0.25 x 10/sup 9/ joules/m/sup 2//yr (21.9 x 10/sup 3/ Btu/ft/sup 2//yr would be produced, worth about $0.60, assuming $2.40/10/sup 9/ joules (approx. =$2.50/MBtu). In conclusion, biophotolysis using heterocystous blue-green algae has been demonstrated. The practical application of this system is dependent upon the development of low-cost converters and effective algal strains. 8 figures, 2 tables.« less