Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 1745–1753 | Cite as

CO2 fixation and lipid accumulation in biofilms of the aerial microalga Coccomyxa sp. KGU-D001 (Trebouxiophyceae)

  • Kyo Ohkubo
  • Nobuhiro Aburai
  • Hiroki Miyauchi
  • Mikio Tsuzuki
  • Katsuya Abe


This study compares lipid accumulation by immobilized aerial microalga Coccomyxa sp. KGU-D001 (Trebouxiophyceae) in biofilms and in aqueous suspended cultivation. Under direct exposure to normal air (low CO2) and light conditions, triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis was significantly stimulated in algal biofilms on wet cotton wool. The TAG accumulation increased with decreasing thickness of the biofilm. This trend was attributed to CO2 fixation by photosynthesis of the biofilm cells, which increases the cellular accumulation of TAG. In a 17-μm-thick biofilm cultivated for 7 days, the total fatty acid (FA) content reached 27% of the cell dry weight. Under these conditions, approximately 60% of the fixed cellular carbon was presumed to be invested in TAG synthesis through free FAs. The CO2 fixation rate was almost maximized at relatively low photon flux density (25 μmol photons m−2 s−1). CO2-gas fixing algal biofilm systems can realize novel non-suspended cultivations, called artificial leaves, and thus present as strong candidates for biodiesel production in the near future.


Aerial microalga Coccomyxa Lipid Biofilm Photosynthesis CO2 fixation 



This study was supported in part by the Strategic Research Foundation Grant-aided Project for Private Universities from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science, and Technology, Japan (grant number S1411005), and the Research Institute for Science and Technology of Kogakuin University for a special Grant-in-Aid to KAKENHI by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyo Ohkubo
    • 1
  • Nobuhiro Aburai
    • 1
  • Hiroki Miyauchi
    • 2
  • Mikio Tsuzuki
    • 2
  • Katsuya Abe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Life Science, School of Advanced EngineeringKogakuin UniversityHachiojiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Applied Life Science, School of Life SciencesTokyo University of Pharmacy and Life SciencesHachiojiJapan

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