There is growing interest in the production of microalgae-based, high-value by-products as an emerging green biotechnology. However, a cultivation platform for Oocystis sp. has yet to be established. We therefore examined the effects of bacterial culture additions on the growth and production of valuable compounds of the microalgal strain Oocystis sp. KNUA044, isolated from a locally adapted region in Korea. The strain grew only in the presence of a clear supernatant of Sphingomonas sp. KNU100 culture solution and generated 28.57 mg/l/d of biomass productivity. Protein content (43.9 wt%) was approximately two-fold higher than carbohydrate content (29.4 wt%) and lipid content (13.9 wt%). Oocystis sp. KNUA044 produced the monosaccharide fucose (33 μg/mg and 0.94 mg/l/d), reported here for the first time. Fatty acid profiling showed high accumulation (over 60%) of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) compared to saturated (29.4%) and monounsaturated fatty acids (9.9%) under the same culture conditions. Of these PUFAs, the algal strain produced the highest concentration of linolenic acid (C18:3 ω3; 40.2%) in the omega-3 family and generated eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5 ω3; 6.0%), also known as EPA. Based on these results, we suggest that the application of Sphingomonas sp. KNU100 for strain-dependent cultivation of Oocystis sp. KNUA044 holds future promise as a bioprocess capable of increasing algal biomass and high-value bioactive by-products, including fucose and PUFAs such as linolenic acid and EPA.
Keywords: Oocystis spp.; Sphingomonas spp.; algal biomass; eicosapentaenoic acid; fucose; symbiotic interaction.