Coccolithophorid algae culture in closed photobioreactors

Biotechnol Bioeng. 2011 Sep;108(9):2078-87. doi: 10.1002/bit.23161. Epub 2011 Apr 25.


The feasibility of growth, calcium carbonate and lipid production of the coccolithophorid algae (Prymnesiophyceae), Pleurochrysis carterae, Emiliania huxleyi, and Gephyrocapsa oceanica, was investigated in plate, carboy, airlift, and tubular photobioreactors. The plate photobioreactor was the most promising closed cultivation system. All species could be grown in the carboy photobioreactor. However, P. carterae was the only species which grew in an airlift photobioreactor. Despite several attempts to grow these coccolithophorid species in the tubular photobioreactor (Biocoil), including modification of the airlift and sparger design, no net growth could be achieved. The shear produced by turbulence and bubble effects are the most likely reasons for this failure to grow in the Biocoil. The highest total dry weight, lipid and calcium carbonate productivities achieved by P. carterae in the plate photobioreactors were 0.54, 0.12, and 0.06 g L(-1) day(-1) respectively. Irrespective of the type of photobioreactor, the productivities were P. carterae > E. huxleyi > G. oceanica. Pleurochrysis carterae lipid (20-25% of dry weight) and calcium carbonate (11-12% of dry weight) contents were also the highest of all species tested.

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Calcium Carbonate / metabolism
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Haptophyta / chemistry
  • Haptophyta / cytology
  • Haptophyta / growth & development*
  • Haptophyta / metabolism*
  • Lipids / biosynthesis
  • Photobioreactors*


  • Lipids
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Calcium Carbonate