Evaluation of native microalgae from Tunisia using the pulse-amplitude-modulation measurement of chlorophyll fluorescence and a performance study in semi-continuous mode for biofuel production
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Background: Microalgae are attracting much attention as a promising feedstock for renewable energy production, while simultaneously providing environmental benefits. So far, comparison studies for microalgae selection for this purpose were mainly based on data obtained from batch cultures, where the lipid content and the growth rate were the main selection parameters. The present study evaluates the performance of native microalgae strains in semi-continuous mode, considering the suitability of the algal-derived fatty acid composition and the saponifiable lipid productivity as selection criteria for microalgal fuel production. Evaluation of the photosynthetic performance and the robustness of the selected strain under outdoor conditions was conducted to assess its capability to grow and tolerate harsh environmental growth conditions. Results: In this study, five native microalgae strains from Tunisia (one freshwater and four marine strains) were isolated and evaluated as potential raw material to produce biofuel. Firstly, molecular identification of the strains was performed. Then, experiments in semi-continuous mode at different dilution rates were carried out. The local microalgae strains were characterized in terms of biomass and lipid productivity, in addition to protein content, and fatty acid profile, content and productivity. The marine strain Chlorella sp. showed, at 0.20 1/day dilution rate, lipid and biomass productivities of 35.10 mg/L day and 0.2 g/L day, respectively. Moreover, data from chlorophyll fluorescence measurements demonstrated the robustness of this strain as it tolerated extreme outdoor conditions including high (38 ° C) and low (10 ° C) temperature, and high irradiance (1600 µmol/m2 s). Conclusions: Selection of native microalgae allows identifying potential strains suitable for use in the production of biofuels. The selected strain Chlorella sp. demonstrated adequate performance to be scaled up to outdoor conditions. Although experiments were performed at laboratory conditions, the methodology used in this paper allows a robust evaluation of microalgae strains for potential market applications.
- Center for Sustainable Development Research [99 items ]