Annals of Microbiology

, Volume 65, Issue 4, pp 1941–1948 | Cite as

Lipid production by the filamentous cyanobacterium Limnothrix sp. growing in synthetic wastewater in suspended- and attached-growth photobioreactor systems

  • Christina N. EconomouEmail author
  • Nikolaos Marinakis
  • Maria Moustaka-Gouni
  • George Kehayias
  • George Aggelis
  • Dimitris V. Vayenas
Original Article


The main objective of this study was the production of biotechnological oil/biodiesel from a filamentous cyanobacterium Limnothrix sp. with simultaneous treatment of a model wastewater. A novel attached-growth photobioreactor was designed to facilitate the harvesting of cyanobacterial biomass and to maximize biomass and lipid production compared to suspended-growth cultivation systems. Kinetic experiments with different initial nitrate and phosphate concentrations were performed in both suspended- and attached-growth cultivation modes to define the biomass and lipid concentration as well as the capability of Limnothrix sp. to remove nutrients from the artificial wastewater. The removal of nitrate and phosphate was high in both suspended- and attached-growth systems. The results of this study also demonstrated that the proposed attached-growth photobioreactor system ensured higher biomass productivity compared to the suspended-growth cultivation system. The absence of long aliphatic chain fatty acids as well as the high amount of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids (almost 80 %) in cyanobacterial lipid make the oil produced a promising feedstock for biodiesel production.


Cyanobacteria Lipids Wastewater Limnothrix sp. Attached-growth system Novel photobioreactor 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and the University of Milan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina N. Economou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nikolaos Marinakis
    • 1
  • Maria Moustaka-Gouni
    • 2
  • George Kehayias
    • 1
  • George Aggelis
    • 3
    • 4
  • Dimitris V. Vayenas
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Natural Resources ManagementUniversity of PatrasAgrinioGreece
  2. 2.School of BiologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  3. 3.Division of Genetics, Cell & Development Biology, Department of BiologyUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  5. 5.Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas – Institute of Chemical Engineering and High Temperature Chemical ProcessesPatrasGreece

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