Laboratory- and Pilot-Scale Cultivation of Tetraselmis striata to Produce Valuable Metabolic Compounds
Patrinou V, Patsialou S, Daskalaki A, Economou CN, Aggelis G, Vayenas DV, Tekerlekopoulou AG. Laboratory- and Pilot-Scale Cultivation of Tetraselmis striata to Produce Valuable Metabolic Compounds. Life. 2023; 13(2):480. https://doi.org/10.3390/life13020480
Marine microalgae are considered an important feedstock of multiple valuable metabolic compounds of high biotechnological potential. In this work, the marine microalga Tetraselmis striata was cultivated in different scaled photobioreactors (PBRs). Initially, experiments were performed using two different growth substrates (a modified F/2 and the commercial fertilizer Nutri-Leaf (30% TN—10% P—10% K)) to identify the most efficient and low-cost growth medium. These experiments took place in 4 L glass aquariums at the laboratory scale and in a 9 L vertical tubular pilot column. Enhanced biomass productivities (up to 83.2 mg L−1 d−1) and improved biomass composition (up to 41.8% d.w. proteins, 18.7% d.w. carbohydrates, 25.7% d.w. lipids and 4.2% d.w. total chlorophylls) were found when the fertilizer was used. Pilot-scale experiments were then performed using Nutri-Leaf as a growth medium in different PBRs: (a) a paddle wheel, open, raceway pond of 40 L, and (b) a disposable polyethylene (plastic) bag of 280 L working volume. Biomass growth and composition were also monitored at the pilot scale, showing that high-quality biomass can be produced, with important lipids (up to 27.6% d.w.), protein (up to 45.3% d.w.), carbohydrate (up to 15.5% d.w.) and pigment contents (up to 4.2% d.w. total chlorophylls), and high percentages of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The research revealed that the strain successfully escalated in larger volumes and the biochemical composition of its biomass presents high commercial interest and could potentially be used as a feed ingredient.