Background Microalgae are efficient producers of lipid-rich biomass, making them a key component in developing a sustainable energy source, and an alternative to fossil fuels. Chlorella species are of special interest because of their fast growth rate in photobioreactors. However, biological constraints still cast a significant gap between the high cost of biofuel and cheap oil, thus hampering perspective of producing CO2-neutral biofuels. A key issue is the inefficient use of light caused by its uneven distribution in the culture that generates photoinhibition of the surface-exposed cells and darkening of the inner layers. Efficient biofuel production, thus, requires domestication, including traits which reduce optical density of cultures and enhance photoprotection. Results We applied two steps of mutagenesis and phenotypic selection to the microalga Chlorella vulgaris. First, a pale-green mutant (PG-14) was selected, with a 50% reduction of both chlorophyll content per cell and LHCII complement per PSII, with respect to WT. PG-14 showed a 30% increased photon conversion into biomass efficiency vs. WT. A second step of mutagenesis of PG-14, followed by selection for higher tolerance to Rose Bengal, led to the isolation of pale-green genotypes, exhibiting higher resistance to singlet oxygen (strains SOR). Growth in photobioreactors under high light conditions showed an enhanced biomass production of SOR strains with respect to PG-14. When compared to WT strain, biomass yield of the pale green + sor genotype was enhanced by 68%. Conclusions Domestication of microalgae like Chlorella vulgaris, by optimizing both light distribution and ROS resistance, yielded an enhanced carbon assimilation rate in photobioreactor.

Combined resistance to oxidative stress and reduced antenna size enhance light-to-biomass conversion efficiency in Chlorella vulgaris cultures

Dall'Osto, Luca
Investigation
;
Cazzaniga, Stefano
Investigation
;
Guardini, Zeno
Investigation
;
Barera, Simone
Investigation
;
Benedetti, Manuel
Investigation
;
Bassi, Roberto
Writing – Review & Editing
2019-01-01

Abstract

Background Microalgae are efficient producers of lipid-rich biomass, making them a key component in developing a sustainable energy source, and an alternative to fossil fuels. Chlorella species are of special interest because of their fast growth rate in photobioreactors. However, biological constraints still cast a significant gap between the high cost of biofuel and cheap oil, thus hampering perspective of producing CO2-neutral biofuels. A key issue is the inefficient use of light caused by its uneven distribution in the culture that generates photoinhibition of the surface-exposed cells and darkening of the inner layers. Efficient biofuel production, thus, requires domestication, including traits which reduce optical density of cultures and enhance photoprotection. Results We applied two steps of mutagenesis and phenotypic selection to the microalga Chlorella vulgaris. First, a pale-green mutant (PG-14) was selected, with a 50% reduction of both chlorophyll content per cell and LHCII complement per PSII, with respect to WT. PG-14 showed a 30% increased photon conversion into biomass efficiency vs. WT. A second step of mutagenesis of PG-14, followed by selection for higher tolerance to Rose Bengal, led to the isolation of pale-green genotypes, exhibiting higher resistance to singlet oxygen (strains SOR). Growth in photobioreactors under high light conditions showed an enhanced biomass production of SOR strains with respect to PG-14. When compared to WT strain, biomass yield of the pale green + sor genotype was enhanced by 68%. Conclusions Domestication of microalgae like Chlorella vulgaris, by optimizing both light distribution and ROS resistance, yielded an enhanced carbon assimilation rate in photobioreactor.
2019
Biofuel; Biomass; Chloroplast; Excess light; Microalgae; Photoprotection; Singlet oxygen
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1012394
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