Microalgal starch and lipids, carbon-based storage molecules, are useful as potential biofuel feedstocks. In this work, cultivation strategies maximising starch and lipid formation were established by developing a multi-parameter kinetic model describing microalgal growth as well as starch and lipid formation, in conjunction with laboratory14 scale experiments. Growth dynamics are driven by nitrogen-limited mixotrophic conditions, known to increase cellular starch and lipid contents whilst enhancing biomass growth. Model parameters were computed by fitting model outputs to a range of experimental datasets from batch cultures of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Predictive capabilities of the model were established against different experimental data. The model was subsequently used to compute optimal nutrient-based cultivation strategies in terms of initial nitrogen and carbon concentrations. Model-based optimal strategies yielded a significant increase of 261% for starch (0.065 gC L-1) and 66% for lipid (0.08 gC L-1) production compared to base-case conditions (0.018 gC L-1 starch, 0.048 gC L-1 lipids).
- microalgal dynamics
- kinetic modelling
- starch and lipids optimisation
- Chlamydomonas reinhardtii