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Research article

J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2011; 21(10): 1081-1087

Published online October 28, 2011 https://doi.org/10.4014/jmb.1103.03041

Copyright © The Korean Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Multistage Operation of Airlift Photobioreactor for Increased Production of Astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis

Yoon-E Choi 1, Yeoung-Sang Yun 2, Jong Moon Park 3* and Ji-Won Yang 1

1Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon 305-701, Korea, 2Department of BIN Fusion Technology and School of Chemical Engineering, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Chonbuk 561-756, Korea , 3Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang790-784, Korea

Received: March 29, 2011; Accepted: June 24, 2011

Abstract

An internally radiating photobioreactor was applied for
the production of astaxanthin using the unicellular green
alga Haematococcus pluvialis. The cellular morphology of
H. pluvialis was significantly affected by the intensity of
irradiance of the photobioreactor. Small green cells were
widespread under lower light intensity, whereas big reddish
cells were predominant under high light intensity. For
these reasons, growth reflected by cell number or dry
weight varied markedly with light conditions. Even under
internal illumination of the photobioreactor, light penetration
was significantly decreased as algal cells grew. Therefore,
we employed a multistage process by gradually increasing
the internal illuminations for astaxanthin production. Our
results revealed that a multistage process might be essential
to the successful operation of a photobioreactor for
astaxnthin production using H. pluvialis.

Keywords: Astaxanthin, Haematococcus pluvialis, photobioreactor, multistage process