Best practices in heterotrophic high-cell-density microalgal processes: achievements, potential and possible limitations
Cook-Gummery, Stella; ; ; Kovar, Karin (2011). Best practices in heterotrophic high-cell-density microalgal processes: achievements, potential and possible limitations. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 91: 31 - 46. Peer reviewed.;
Microalgae of numerous heterotrophic genera (obligate or facultative) exhibit considerable metabolic versatility and flexibility but are currently underexploited
in the biotechnological manufacturing of known plantderived compounds, novel high-value biomolecules or enriched biomass. Highly efficient production of microalgal biomass without the need for light is now feasible in inexpensive, well-defined mineral medium, typically supplemented with glucose. Cell densities of more than 100 gl−1 cell dry weight have been achieved with Chlorella, Crypthecodinium and Galdieria species while controlling the addition of organic sources of carbon and energy in fedbatch mode. The ability of microalgae to adapt their metabolism to varying culture conditions provides opportunities to modify, control and thereby maximise the formation of targeted compounds with non-recombinant microalgae. This review outlines the critical aspects of cultivation technology and current best practices in the
heterotrophic high-cell-density cultivation of microalgae. The primary topics include (1) the characteristics of microalgae that make them suitable for heterotrophic cultivation, (2) the appropriate chemical composition of
mineral growth media, (3) the different strategies for fedbatch cultivations and (4) the principles behind the customisation of biomass composition. The review confirms that, although fundamental knowledge is now available, the development of efficient, economically feasible large-scale bioprocesses remains an obstacle to the commercialisation of this promising technology.