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Concept: Algaculture


The requirements of micronutrients for biomass and hydrocarbon production in Botryococcus braunii UTEX 572 were studied using response surface methodology. The concentrations of four micronutrients (iron, manganese, molybdenum, and nickel) were manipulated to achieve the best performance of B. braunii in laboratory conditions. The responses of algal biomass and hydrocarbon to the concentration variations of the four micronutrients were estimated by a second order quadratic regression model. Genetic algorithm calculations showed that the optimal level of micronutrients for algal biomass were 0.266 µM iron, 0.707 µM manganese, 0.624 µM molybdenum and 3.38 µM nickel. The maximum hydrocarbon content could be achieved when the culture media contained 10.43 µM iron, 6.53 µM manganese, 0.012 µM molybdenum and 1.73 µM nickel. The validation through an independent test in a photobioreactor suggests that the modified media with optimised concentrations of trace elements can increase algal biomass by 34.5% and hydrocarbon by 27.4%. This study indicates that micronutrients play significant roles in regulating algal growth and hydrocarbon production, and the response surface methodology can be used to optimise the composition of culture medium in algal culture.

Concepts: Mathematical optimization, Agar, Algae fuel, Botryococcus braunii, Photosynthesis, Metal, Algaculture, Algae


Prospecting macroalgae (seaweeds) as feedstocks for bioconversion into biofuels and commodity chemical compounds is limited primarily by the availability of tractable microorganisms that can metabolize alginate polysaccharides. Here, we present the discovery of a 36-kilo-base pair DNA fragment from Vibrio splendidus encoding enzymes for alginate transport and metabolism. The genomic integration of this ensemble, together with an engineered system for extracellular alginate depolymerization, generated a microbial platform that can simultaneously degrade, uptake, and metabolize alginate. When further engineered for ethanol synthesis, this platform enables bioethanol production directly from macroalgae via a consolidated process, achieving a titer of 4.7% volume/volume and a yield of 0.281 weight ethanol/weight dry macroalgae (equivalent to ~80% of the maximum theoretical yield from the sugar composition in macroalgae).

Concepts: Algaculture, Enzyme, Starch, Metabolism, Glucose, Bacteria, Biofuel, Ethanol fuel


The name “cosmeceuticals” is derived from “cosmetics and pharmaceuticals”, indicating that a specific product contains active ingredients. Marine algae have gained much importance in cosmeceutical product development due to their rich bioactive compounds. In the present review, marine algal compounds (phlorotannins, sulfated polysaccharides and tyrosinase inhibitors) have been discussed toward cosmeceutical application. In addition, atopic dermatitis and the possible role of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) in skin-related diseases have been explored extensively for cosmeceutical products. The proper development of marine algae compounds will be helpful in cosmeceutical product development and in the development of the cosmeceutical industry.

Concepts: Seaweed, Algaculture, Active ingredient, Food and Drug Administration, Cosmetics, Matrix metalloproteinase, Algae, Cosmeceutical


The red algae Asparagopsis taxiformis collected from the Straits of Messina (Italy) were screened for antifungal activity against Aspergillus species. EUCAST methodology was applied and extracts showed antifungal activity against A. fumigatus, A. terreus and A. flavus. The lowest minimum inhibitory concentrations observed were <0.15 mg ml(-1) and the highest were >5 mg ml(-1) for Aspergillus spp. tested. Agar diffusion assays confirmed antifungal activity of A. taxiformis extracts in Aspergillus species.

Concepts: Algaculture, Coralline algae, Sicily, Red algae, Aspergillus, Brown algae, Plant, Algae


The objective of this work was to understand and optimize the flocculation of a marine alga Nannochloropsis oculata with two cationic salts, aluminum sulfate (AS), and ferric chloride (FC). Based on single-factor and response-surface-methodology experiments, second-order polynomial models were developed to examine the effect of initial algal biomass concentration (IABC), pH, and flocculant dose (FD) on final solid concentration of algae (SCA). The experimental and modeling results showed that SCA favored low pH, which however was undesirable to biomass recovery rate. There existed a positive stoichiometric relationship between FD and IABC; higher IABC required higher FD, and vice versa, for higher SCA. Optimum flocculation conditions were predicted at IABC of 1.7 g/l, pH 8.3, and FD of 383.5 μM for AS, and IABC of 2.2 g/l, pH 7.9, and FD of 438.1 μM for FC, under which the predicted maximum SCA were 32.98 and 30.10 g/l using AS and FC, respectively. The predictions were close to validation experimental results, indicating that the models can be used to guide and optimize the flocculation of N. oculata using AS and FC as the flocculants.

Concepts: Aluminium sulfate, Phytoplankton, Algae fuel, Photosynthesis, Optimization, Flocculation, Algaculture, Algae


In this study, Chlorella zofingiensis harvesting by dissolved air flotation (DAF) was critically evaluated with regard to algal concentration, culture conditions, type and dosage of coagulants, and recycle ratio. Harvesting efficiency increased with coagulant dosage and leveled off at 81%, 86%, 91% and 87% when chitosan, Al(3+) , Fe(3+) , and cetyl trimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) were used at dosages of 70, 180, 250, 500 mg g(-1) , respectively. The DAF efficiency-coagulant dosage relationship changed with algal culture conditions. Evaluation of the influence of the initial algal concentration and recycle ratio revealed that, under conditions typical for algal harvesting, it is possible that the number of bubbles is insufficient. A DAF algal harvesting model was developed to explain this observation by introducing mass-based floc size distributions and a bubble limitation into the white water blanket model. The model revealed the importance of coagulation to increase floc-bubble collision and attachment, and the preferential interaction of bubbles with larger flocs which limited the availability of bubbles to the smaller sized flocs. The harvesting efficiencies predicted by the model agree reasonably with experimental data obtained at different Al(3+) dosages, algal concentrations, and recycle ratios. Based on this modeling, critical parameters for efficient algal harvesting were identified. Biotechnol. Bioeng. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Waste treatment technology, Aquaculture, Algaculture, Coagulation, Algae, Dissolved air flotation, Critical thinking, Flocculation


The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility of growing of algae Ulva lactuca L under different salinity levels coupled with varied KNO3 concentrations (source of N) as a potential source of oil for biodiesel production.

Concepts: Algaculture, Algae fuel, Ulva lactuca, Algae, Biodiesel production, Biodiesel


Herbivorous surgeonfishes are an ecologically successful group of reef fish that rely on marine algae as their principal food source. Here, we elucidated the significance of giant enteric symbionts colonizing these fishes regarding their roles in the digestive processes of hosts feeding predominantly on polysiphonous red algae and brown Turbinaria algae, which contain different polysaccharide constituents. Using metagenomics, single-cell genomics, and metatranscriptomic analyses, we provide evidence of metabolic diversification of enteric microbiota involved in the degradation of algal biomass in these fishes. The enteric microbiota is also phylogenetically and functionally simple relative to the complex lignocellulose-degrading microbiota of terrestrial herbivores. Over 90% of the enzymes for deconstructing algal polysaccharides emanate from members of a single bacterial lineage, “Candidatus Epulopiscium” and related giant bacteria. These symbionts lack cellulases but encode a distinctive and lineage-specific array of mostly intracellular carbohydrases concurrent with the unique and tractable dietary resources of their hosts. Importantly, enzymes initiating the breakdown of the abundant and complex algal polysaccharides also originate from these symbionts. These are also highly transcribed and peak according to the diel lifestyle of their host, further supporting their importance and host-symbiont cospeciation. Because of their distinctive genomic blueprint, we propose the classification of these giant bacteria into three candidate genera. Collectively, our findings show that the acquisition of metabolically distinct “Epulopiscium” symbionts in hosts feeding on compositionally varied algal diets is a key niche-partitioning driver in the nutritional ecology of herbivorous surgeonfishes.

Concepts: Species, Coral reef, Algaculture, Cell wall, Metabolism, Algae, Plant, Bacteria


While macroalgae (or seaweeds) are increasingly recognized to suffer from disease, in most cases the causative agents are unknown. The model macroalga Delisea pulchra is susceptible to a bleaching disease and previous work has identified two epiphytic bacteria, belonging to the Roseobacter clade, that cause bleaching under laboratory conditions. However, recent environmental surveys have shown that these in vitro pathogens are not abundant in naturally bleached D. pulchra, suggesting the presence of other pathogens capable of causing this algal disease. To test this hypothesis, we cultured bacteria that were abundant on bleached tissue across multiple disease events and assessed their ability to cause bleaching disease. We identified the new pathogens Alteromonas sp. BL110, Aquimarina sp. AD1 and BL5 and Agarivorans sp BL7 that are phylogenetically diverse, distinct from the previous two pathogens and can also be found in low abundance in healthy individuals. Moreover, we found that bacterial communities of diseased individuals that were infected with these pathogens were less diverse and more divergent from each other than those of healthy algae. This study demonstrates that multiple and opportunistic pathogens can cause the same disease outcome for D. pulchra and we postulate that such pathogens are more common in marine systems than previously anticipated. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Pathogen, Causality, Infection, Plant, Algaculture, Kelp, Algae, Seaweed


Algae have been used for food and nutraceuticals for thousands of years, and the large-scale cultivation of algae, or algaculture, has existed for over half a century. More recently algae have been identified and developed as renewable fuel sources, and the cultivation of algal biomass for various products is transitioning to commercial-scale systems. It is crucial during this period that institutional frameworks (i.e., policies) support and promote development and commercialization and anticipate and stimulate the evolution of the algal biomass industry as a source of renewable fuels, high value protein and carbohydrates and low-cost drugs. Large-scale cultivation of algae merges the fundamental aspects of traditional agricultural farming and aquaculture. Despite this overlap, algaculture has not yet been afforded a position within agriculture or the benefits associated with it. Various federal and state agricultural support and assistance programs are currently appropriated for crops, but their extension to algal biomass is uncertain. These programs are essential for nascent industries to encourage investment, build infrastructure, disseminate technical experience and information, and create markets. This review describes the potential agricultural policies and programs that could support algal biomass cultivation, and the barriers to the expansion of these programs to algae.

Concepts: Cultivation, Photosynthesis, Aquaculture, Biodiesel, Biofuel, Algaculture, Algae, Agriculture