, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 903-908
Date: 08 Oct 2010

Factors affecting lipid accumulation by Nannochloropsis oculata in a two-stage cultivation process

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Reserve lipids of microalgae are promising for biodiesel production. However, optimization of cultivation conditions for both biomass yield and lipid production of microalgae is a contradictory problem because required conditions for both targets are different. In this study, a two-stage cultivation strategy is proposed to enhance lipid production of the microalga Nannochloropsis oculata. Biomass growth and lipid production were carried out in two separate and non-interacting stages. In first-stage cultivation, microalgae were cultivated in optimal conditions for cell growth. Then, microalgae were harvested and transferred into a growth-limited environment, thus enhancing lipid production of microalgae. Here, optimization of the lipid production stage (second stage) with respect to different levels of inoculum concentration, salinity of culture broth, and intensity of irradiance was performed. The results show that irradiance exhibits a significant influence on lipid production. The highest lipid productivity of 0.324 g L−1 day−1 was obtained with an inoculum concentration of 2.3 g L−1, a salinity of 35 g L−1, and an irradiance of 500 μmol photons m−2 s−1. The final yield of lipid obtained from the two-stage process was 2.82-times higher than that from traditional single-stage batch cultivation systems.