Rapid screening test to estimate temperature optima for microalgae growth using photosynthesis activity measurements

  • Karolína RanglováEmail author
  • Gergely Ernö Lakatos
  • João Artur Câmara Manoel
  • Tomáš Grivalský
  • Jiří Masojídek
Original Article


We have worked out a rapid 1-day test based on photosynthesis measurements to estimate suitable growth temperature of microalgae cultures. To verify the proposed procedure, several microalgae—Chlorella, Nostoc, Synechocystis, Scenedesmus, and Cylindrospermum—were cultured under controlled laboratory conditions (irradiance, temperature, mixing, CO2, and nutrient supply) to find the optima of photosynthetic activity using the range between 15 and 35 °C. These activities were recorded at each temperature step after 2 h of acclimation which should be sufficient as oxygen production and the PQ cycle are regulated by fast processes. Photosynthetic activity was measured using three techniques—oxygen production/respiration, saturating pulse analysis of fluorescence quenching, and fast fluorescence induction kinetics—to estimate the temperature optima which should correspond to high growth rate. We measured all variables that might have been directly related to growth—photosynthetic oxygen evolution, maximum photochemical yield of PSII, Fv/Fm, relative electron transport rate rETRmax, and the transients Vj and Vi determined by fast fluorescence induction curves. When the temperature optima for photosynthetic activity were verified in growth tests, we found good correlation. For most of tested microalgae strains, temperature around 30 °C was found to be the most suitable at this setting. We concluded that the developed test can be used as a rapid 1-day pre-screening to estimate a suitable growth temperature of microalgae strains before they are cultured in a pilot scale.


Chlorophyll fluorescence Electron transport rate Microalgae Photosynthesis measurements Rapid test Temperature optimisation 







Dry mass

F0, Fv, Fm

Minimal, variable, and maximal fluorescence in dark-adapted state


Maximal photochemical yield of PSII


Photosynthetic oxygen evolution and respiration

OJIP curve

Fast Chl fluorescence induction kinetics


Pulse-amplitude modulation


Photosynthetically active radiation


Plastoquinone pool


Photosystem II




Relative electron transport rate through PSII


Rapid light-response curve



The authors thank Ms. Soňa Pekařová for technical assistance, Dr. Pavel Hrouzek and Dr. Michal Koblížek for revision of the manuscript and Mr. Jason Dean for language correction.

Author’s contribution

Karolína Ranglová, Gergely Lakatos, João Artur Câmara Manoel and Tomáš Grivalský carried out joint experiments, evaluated data and took a part in the preparation of the manuscript. Karolína Ranglová prepared the manuscript text and figures. Jiří Masojídek revised and finalized the manuscript.


This work received complex funding with partial support from National Sustainability Programme I of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (project Algatech Plus LO1416) and in part by the EU programme Horizon 2020 (project SABANA, grant no. 727874).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Microbiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Algatech, Laboratory of Algal BiotechnologyInstitute of Microbiology of the CASTřeboňCzech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  3. 3.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic

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