IKBFU Scientists test a new method for growing microalgae that are used in biofuel production as this alternative energy source becomes increasingly popular today. The goal of the scientists is to make the plants grow biomass faster. This method is effective in industrial terms as it does not require land for growth since the algae growth in any type of water surfaces and may not be tended to too often.
A wide range of important organic compounds are included in the algae biomass: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids. IKBFU’s Institute of Living Systems biologists consider carbohydrates to be the best raw material for biofuel production, that may replace traditional fuel. Various types of micro-algae have different amounts of carbohydrates.
Senior researcher at Laboratory of microbiology and biotechnologies prof. Vyacheslav Dolganyuk described the process:
«To maximize biofuel production, it is necessary to combine high carbohydrate content with the ability of microalgae to produce large amounts of biomass. Consequently, in order to obtain the highest carbohydrate value, it is necessary to learn how to control the cultivation conditions».
The amount of carbohydrate content in microalgae is affected by nutrient availability, salt stress, light intensity, temperature, and metabolism. Biologists have proposed a new method of enriching the nutrient medium with carbohydrate additives.
Prof. Dolganyuk explained:
«We conclude that when producing carbohydrate-rich microalgae, it is recommended to add carbohydrates to the nutrient media. When the alga Chlorella vulgaris Beijer was cultivated under steady-state conditions, the maximum rate of biomass growth was observed when glucose, fructose, maltose and sucrose were added to the medium. The high content of carbohydrates, especially monosaccharides favors the biofuel production process. To evaluate and optimize cultivation conditions for microalgae biomass with higher carbohydrate content, more research is needed».
The research results are published in the Marine Drugs scientific journal. IKBFU scientists collaborated with Kemerovo State University scientists when working on the research.