Selecting reliable and robust freshwater macroalgae for biomass applications

Lawton, Rebecca J., de Nys, Rocky, and Paul, Nicholas (2013) Selecting reliable and robust freshwater macroalgae for biomass applications. PLoS ONE, 8 (5). e64168. pp. 1-7.

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Intensive cultivation of freshwater macroalgae is likely to increase with the development of an algal biofuels industry and algal bioremediation. However, target freshwater macroalgae species suitable for large-scale intensive cultivation have not yet been identified. Therefore, as a first step to identifying target species, we compared the productivity, growth and biochemical composition of three species representative of key freshwater macroalgae genera across a range of cultivation conditions. We then selected a primary target species and assessed its competitive ability against other species over a range of stocking densities. Oedogonium had the highest productivity (8.0 g ash free dry weight m⁻² day⁻¹), lowest ash content (3–8%), lowest water content (fresh weigh: dry weight ratio of 3.4), highest carbon content (45%) and highest bioenergy potential (higher heating value 20 MJ/kg) compared to Cladophora and Spirogyra. The higher productivity of Oedogonium relative to Cladophora and Spirogyra was consistent when algae were cultured with and without the addition of CO2 across three aeration treatments. Therefore, Oedogonium was selected as our primary target species. The competitive ability of Oedogonium was assessed by growing it in bi-cultures and polycultures with Cladophora and Spirogyra over a range of stocking densities. Cultures were initially stocked with equal proportions of each species, but after three weeks of growth the proportion of Oedogonium had increased to at least 96% (±7 S.E.) in Oedogonium-Spirogyra bi-cultures, 86% (±16 S.E.) in Oedogonium-Cladophora bi-cultures and 82% (±18 S.E.) in polycultures. The high productivity, bioenergy potential and competitive dominance of Oedogonium make this species an ideal freshwater macroalgal target for large-scale production and a valuable biomass source for bioenergy applications. These results demonstrate that freshwater macroalgae are thus far an under-utilised feedstock with much potential for biomass applications.

Item ID: 27216
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Funders: Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (AMCRC)
Date Deposited: 28 May 2013 22:58
FoR Codes: 10 TECHNOLOGY > 1002 Environmental Biotechnology > 100203 Bioremediation @ 40%
10 TECHNOLOGY > 1003 Industrial Biotechnology > 100302 Bioprocessing, Bioproduction and Bioproducts @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060701 Phycology (incl Marine Grasses) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960912 Urban and Industrial Water Management @ 40%
85 ENERGY > 8505 Renewable Energy > 850501 Biofuel (Biomass) Energy @ 40%
82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8203 Industrial Crops > 820399 Industrial Crops not elsewhere classified @ 20%
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