Microalgae are very efficient solar energy converters and they can produce a great variety of metabolites. Man has always tried to take advantage of these proporties through algal mass culture. Despite the fact that many applications for microalgae have been described in the literature, these micro-organisms are still of minor economic importance. Industrial reactors for algal culture are at present, all designed as open race-ways (shallow open ponds where culture is circulated by a paddle-wheel). Technical and biological limitations of these open systems have given rise to the development of enclosed photoreactors (made of transparent tubes, sleeves or containers and where light source may be natural or artificial). The present review surveys advances in these two technologies for cultivation of microalgae. Starting from published results, the advantages and disadvantages of open systems and closed photobioreactors are discussed. A few open systems are presented for which particularly reliable results are available. Emphasis is then put on closed systems, which have been considered as capital intensive and are justified only when a fine chemical is to be produced.
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Chaumont, D. Biotechnology of algal biomass production: a review of systems for outdoor mass culture. J Appl Phycol 5, 593–604 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02184638
- culture systems
- mass culture
- algal biotechnology