Skip to main content
Image
Mikroalgodling i en laboratoriebioreaktor
Photo: Otilia Cheregi
Breadcrumb

Mixotrophy in marine microalgae for renewable biomass production (MMM-REBIO)

Research project
Pågående forskning
Project period
2019 - 2021
Project owner
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Short description

The project aims to develop mixotrophic cultivation (the simultaneous use of light and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and organic carbon for respiration) to maximize growth and outdoor productivity for microalgae strains from the Swedish west coast. The main objectives are: i) to better understand mixotrophic metabolism in diatoms using using Skeletonema marinoi as a model; ii) to explore the optimal mixotrophic conditions for enhanced productivity of S. marinoi; iii) to investigate the potential industrial applications of S. marinoi when cultivated under mixotrophy. Computational, biophysical, analytical, biotechnological and biological methods are employed. A mixotrophic outdoor cultivation of marine microalgae in the dynamic climate of the Swedish west coast could provide a higher total production of renewable biomass for industry.

More about the project

Diatoms are unicellular eukaryotic algae (microalgae) and one of the most common and diverse type of marine phytoplankton. Thanks to a flexible cell metabolism, they dominate in environmental conditions normally unfavorable for photosynthesis, i.e. freezing seawater, low light intensity and short photoperiod. Moreover, diatoms are able to synthesize storage lipids (20-50% of cell dry weight) that can be used for production of renewable biomass and high-value fatty acids.

However, the success of these microalgae as feedstock depends on lowering the production cost. The proposed project aims to develop mixotrophic cultivation (i.e. the simultaneous use of light and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and organic carbon for respiration) to maximize growth and outdoor productivity for selected strains from the Swedish west coast. The focus will be on the bloom-forming coastal diatom Skeletonema marinoi  whose sequence annotation is ongoing, and the recent knowledge on mixotrophic growth of the model diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum will be employed.

The main objectives will be:

  1. using the bloom-forming S. marinoi to better understand mixotrophic metabolism in diatoms
  2. exploring the optimal mixotrophic conditions for enhanced productivity of S. marinoi
  3. investigating the potential industrial applications of S. marinoi when cultivated under mixotrophy

To achieve these objectives, an interdisciplinary approach including computational, biophysical, analytical, biotechnological and biological methods will be employed. A mixotrophic outdoor cultivation of marine microalgae in the dynamic climate of the Swedish west coast could provide a higher total production of renewable biomass for industry.

Members

Cornelia Spetea Wiklund (professor)
Valeria Villanova (researcher)
Mats Töpel (researcher)  Department of Marine Sciences, GU
Susanne Ekendahl, Johan Engelbrektsson, Niklas Strömberg, RISE
Benjamin Bailleul, CNRS France
Adriana Ianora, SZN Italy

Horizon 2020

The project is funded by the EU. Read more at CORDIS