Flow turbulence has been widely accepted as one of the essential factors affecting phytoplankton growth. In this study, laboratory cultures of Microcystis aeruginosa
in beakers were carried out under different turbulent conditions to identify the quantitative relationship between the algal growth rate and the turbulent intensity. The turbulent intensity (represented by energy dissipation rate, ε) was simulated with the software FLUENT. Daily measurement of the two parameters (algal biomass and chlorophyll-a concentration) was carried out during the experimental period to represent the algal growth rate. Meanwhile, the rates of photosynthetic oxygen evolution and chlorophyll fluorescence intensity were calculated to investigate the photosynthetic efficiency. The results indicated that the growth rate of Microcystis aeruginosa
became higher in the turbulent environment than in the still water environment under the designed experimental conditions. The peak growth rate of Microcystis aeruginosa
occurred when ε was 6.44 × 10−2
, over which the rate declined, probably due to unfavorable impacts of strong turbulence. In comparison, the maximum rate of photosynthetic oxygen evolution occurred when ε was 0.19 m2
. Based on the findings of this study, an exponential function was proposed in order to incorporate the effect of flow turbulence into the existing algal growth models, which usually just consider the impacts of nutrient availability, illumination, and temperature.
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