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Mar. Drugs 2014, 12(4), 1891-1910; doi:10.3390/md12041891
Article

Combined Effects of Nitrogen Concentration and Seasonal Changes on the Production of Lipids in Nannochloropsis oculata

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1,*
1 Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Centre for Ecology and Evolution in Microbial Model Systems (EEMiS), Linnæus University, 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden 2 Necton SA, Belamandil s/n, 8700-152 Olhão, Portugal 3 IFREMER, Laboratoire de Science et Technologie de la Biomasse Marine (STBM), 44311 Nantes cedex 03, France 4 Neste Oil, Technology Centre, POB 310, 06101 Porvoo, Finland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 January 2014 / Revised: 26 February 2014 / Accepted: 10 March 2014 / Published: 31 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and New Perspectives in Marine Biotechnology)
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Abstract

Instead of sole nutrient starvation to boost algal lipid production, we addressed nutrient limitation at two different seasons (autumn and spring) during outdoor cultivation in flat panel photobioreactors. Lipid accumulation, biomass and lipid productivity and changes in fatty acid composition of Nannochloropsis oculata were investigated under nitrogen (N) limitation (nitrate:phosphate N:P 5, N:P 2.5 molar ratio). N. oculata was able to maintain a high biomass productivity under N-limitation compared to N-sufficiency (N:P 20) at both seasons, which in spring resulted in nearly double lipid productivity under N-limited conditions (0.21 g L−1 day−1) compared to N-sufficiency (0.11 g L−1 day−1). Saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids increased from 76% to nearly 90% of total fatty acids in N-limited cultures. Higher biomass and lipid productivity in spring could, partly, be explained by higher irradiance, partly by greater harvesting rate (~30%). Our results indicate the potential for the production of algal high value products (i.e., polyunsaturated fatty acids) during both N-sufficiency and N-limitation. To meet the sustainability challenges of algal biomass production, we propose a dual-system process: Closed photobioreactors producing biomass for high value products and inoculum for larger raceway ponds recycling waste/exhaust streams to produce bulk chemicals for fuel, feed and industrial material.
Keywords: microalgae; outdoor; Nannochloropsis; large-scale; lipids; fatty acids; nitrogen manipulation; seasonal changes; biofuels; high value products microalgae; outdoor; Nannochloropsis; large-scale; lipids; fatty acids; nitrogen manipulation; seasonal changes; biofuels; high value products
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Olofsson, M.; Lamela, T.; Nilsson, E.; Bergé, J.-P.; del Pino, V.; Uronen, P.; Legrand, C. Combined Effects of Nitrogen Concentration and Seasonal Changes on the Production of Lipids in Nannochloropsis oculata. Mar. Drugs 2014, 12, 1891-1910.

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