Development of mesophylic microalgal strains for large scale cultivation in open ponds and closed photobioreactors.

Starting date
March 1, 2017
Duration (months)
24
Departments
Biotechnology
Managers or local contacts
Bassi Roberto

Microalgae are promising resource for the production of food, feed, biofuels and many other high value compounds such as colorants, antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The major limitations to the industrial development of the algal cultures consist into
(i) the low productivity in photobioreactors, which is limited by the thermal dissipation of the light energy and the poor optical properties of concentrated algal cultures; and by
(ii) the difficulty and high cost of maintaining monocultures of algal strains in large-scale plants. In recent years, the Photosynthesis Laboratory of the University of Verona led the research in the field of genetic selection of algal strains of high productivity and high light use efficiency. In parallel, StelaGenomics has developed a technology for the selective growth of plants and algal cultures by limiting the competitive growth of weeds and competing microorganisms. It is expected that the combination of these two technologies will lead to selection of algal strains combining high productivity and the ability to grow in the open air or in closed photobioreactors with no need of sterile conditions, drastically decreasing operation costs. The selection of strains of Chlorella, Nannochloropsis, Haematococcus and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with such features will enable the development of high-performance industrial activity for the production of high value metabolites and open the way for the production of biofuels and feed from algal biomass with relevant improvement of the carbon emissions for energy demanding activities.

Project participants

Roberto Bassi
Full Professor

Activities

Research facilities