Effect of matching microalgal strains origin and regional weather condition on biomass productivity in environmental photobioreactors

Highlights
• Twenty-six microalgal strains were isolated from a high irradiance geographical site.
• Biochemical characterization of the biomass suggested technological potential.
• Pioneering studies on modeling microalgal productivity in South America
• Productivity under extreme environmental conditions agreed with strains origin.
• An exotic strain outperformed a native one under mean weather conditions.

 

Abstract

It is generally assumed that increased microalgal biomass productivity on any particular geographical site would be most likely achieved by strains native to that region. However, direct assessment of that hypothesis remains challenging. Here we isolated and biochemically characterized twenty-six microalgal strains from one of the regions with the highest irradiances of the planet. Biomass and lipids productivity of phylogenetically-close Scenedesmus strains native to regions of contrasting irradiances performed similarly under laboratory culture conditions. Culture simulations in environmental photobioreactors, mimicking regional weather conditions, broadly showed physiological responses of these strains according to their origin. However, under the mean weather conditions of a predicted highly productive region, an exotic strain from a lower irradiance zone resulted 40% more productive than a phylogenetically close-relative native strain. These results challenge the generalized view of the convenience of using native microalgae to increase productivity and broadens the discussion towards alternative scenarios.

Keywords

Microalgae
Bioprospecting
High irradiance
Scenedesmus spp.
Biomass productivity
Environmental photobioreactor
 
Effect of matching microalgal strains origin and regional weather condition on biomass productivity in environmental photobioreactors