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Characterisation of a simple 'hanging bag' photobioreactor for low-cost cultivation of microalgae

Cui, J; Purton, S; Baganz, F; (2022) Characterisation of a simple 'hanging bag' photobioreactor for low-cost cultivation of microalgae. Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology , 97 (3) pp. 608-619. 10.1002/jctb.6985. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Microalgae are a diverse group of photosynthetic microorganisms of significant interest to the biotechnology industry, either as a sustainable source of natural compounds, or as light-driven cell factories to produce recombinant metabolites and proteins. Their ability to utilise light, CO2, and basic nutrients leads to a simple and low-cost phototrophic cultivation process. This is particularly relevant to low- and middle-income countries, all of which require a cultivation system that is cheap, technically simple to operate, readily scalable, and can meet basic Good Manufacturing Practice requirements. A disposable ‘hanging bag’-type photobioreactor operated as a bubble column fits these criteria. RESULTS: In this study, the characterisation and design modifications to improve the performance of a 15 L hanging bag is reported. The bubble behaviour using different sparger designs was investigated together with gas hold-up, mixing time, and mass transfer coefficient of CO2. A gas flow rate of 5 L min−1 using a new sparger design and a modified height-to-diameter ratio of the bag led to a two-fold improvement in algal biomass productivity when culturing the green microalga Chlorella sorokiniana. The cultivation of a luciferase-expressing Chlamydomonas reinhardtii strain in the modified hanging bag also demonstrated an 11% increase in luciferase content. CONCLUSION: This is the first attempt to characterise this simple hanging bag system that brings the industry-favoured single-use bag concept into the research field of photobioreactor technology. The hanging bag with modified sparger and dimensions improves microalgal biomass productivity and demonstrates the potential of simple and low-cost systems for microalgal cultivation. © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry (SCI).

Type: Article
Title: Characterisation of a simple 'hanging bag' photobioreactor for low-cost cultivation of microalgae
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/jctb.6985
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/jctb.6985
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry (SCI). This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Microalgae, single-use photobioreactor, hanging bag, bubble column, phototrophic cultivation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Structural and Molecular Biology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Biochemical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10138889
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