, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 331-342

Overall assessment of Monodus subterraneus cultivation and EPA production in outdoor helical and bubble column reactors

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The outdoor production of Monodus subterraneus wasstudied in bubble column and helical reactors, mainly analysing the influenceofdilution rate, air flow rate and solar irradiance on growth rate andbiochemicalcomposition. Photoinhibition and photo-oxidation phenomena were also analysed.The cultures were stressed at high solar irradiance and dissolved oxygenconcentrations. A clear relationship between stress of the cultures and thefluorescence from PSII measurements was observed, the Fv/Fm ratio being lowerinthe helical reactor than in the bubble column. Growth rate and biomassproductivity were both a function of the average irradiance and the Fv/Fmratio;maximum values of 0.040 h−1 and 0.54 gL−1 d−1 were measured. The influenceofphotoinhibition and average irradiance was modelled, the model also fitting theexperimental data reported by another author. The chlorophyll contenthyperbolically decreased, whereas the carotenoid content decreased linearlywiththe average irradiance. The higher the dilution rate the higher the protein andcarbohydrate content of the biomass, and the lower the lipid content. Theeicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) content ranged from 2.3 to 3.2% d.wt, the higherthe dilution rate, the lower EPA content, although the higher the EPAproportion. Maximum EPA productivity was only 9 mg L−1d−1, due to the stress to which the cultures wereexposed.