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Screening & Assessing Growth Kinetics of High Lipid Microalgal Strains

2009 DOT-RITA Seed Award


PI: Dr. Chandra Theegala (Louisiana State University AgCenter, Biological and Agricultural Engineering)
Co-PI: Dr. Ronald Malone (Louisiana State University)
Co-PI: Dr. Eric Achberger (Louisiana State University)

Funded: $69,674

Start Date: 12/01/2009

End Date: 5/31/2012


Expected Outcomes

The proposed research is anticipated to address several critical questions pertinent to lipid productivity from outdoor cultures. Unlike earlier screening experiments that were based on results from indoor, artificial-light based Erlenmeyer flask experiments, the proposed research assesses the suitability and kinetic parameters of numerous strains under field conditions. The kinetic data is anticipated to offer invaluable insights into the balance between lipid concentrations within a cell versus specific growth rates.


The most significant outcome of this research is anticipated to be the output from mathematical models. For example, with reliable models, one can estimate the lipid productivities of various strains from 1,000 acres of raceways at a given location before investing millions of dollars. These models will also allow the algal facility operators to identify the ideal species for a given air temperature, solar radiation, season, or water salinity. The models can also provide invaluable guidance at a more advanced levels, such as: assessing the cost-benefit ratio of CO2 supplementation, contaminant mitigation, and harvest frequency optimization.

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