A multiscale modelling approach for Haematococcus pluvialis cultivation under different environmental conditions

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Haematococcus pluvialis can produce significant amounts of industrially important compounds belonging to lipids and starch classes, including various specific pigments such as β-carotene, lutein and astaxanthin, as well as lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. Their production can vary depending on environmental stress conditions like nutrient starvation. However, stress conditions lead also to undesired phenomena such as cell lysis, which is likely to be related to products loss. The microorganism develops towards smaller single cell volumes during the growth process, and eventually, more likely towards lysis when fission (i.e. cell division) slows down. The lysis process takes place simultaneously with nutrient depletion, so both growth and lysis are linked to the change of environmental conditions. In this work, we develop a novel multiscale segregated-structured model based on Population Balance Equations (PBEs) to describe the photoautotrophic growth of H.pluvialis, in particular cell growth, and lysis, making possible the description of the relationship between cell volume/transition, cell loss, and metabolic product availability. Cell volume is the internal coordinate of the population balance model, and its link with intrinsic concentrations is also presented. The model parameters are fitted against experimental data, extensive sensitivity analysis is performed and the model predictive capabilities are tested in terms of cell density distributions, as well as 0th and 1st order moments.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00771
Pages (from-to)e00771
JournalBiotechnology Reports
Early online date19 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Batch cultivation
  • Cell fission
  • Cell lysis
  • Microalgae
  • Nutrient limitation
  • Population balance


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