Limits to biomass productivity during fed-batch cultivation of Laminaria saccharina female gametophyte cells in a stirred-tank photobioreactor
Abstract: This study compared the growth of Laminaria saccharina female gametophyte filamentous cell suspension cultures in a stirred-tank photobioreactor under batch and fed-batch nutrient addition modes over a 48-day cultivation period. Cultures were grown on GP2 artificial seawater medium (0.75 mM nitrate, N:P = 16:1) at pH 8.3 without iron or copper. Total equivalent nutrient loadings ranged from 0.5X to 9.1X GP2 for batch cultivation and 1.3X to 10.4X GP2 for fed-batch cultivation at delivery rates of 0.0067–0.16 mmol N L−1 day−1 based on nitrate. The multicellular, L. saccharina filamentous clumps were dispersed to nominal size of 100 μm by mechanical blending (~ 16,000 rpm, 5 s) prior to inoculation. Fed-batch addition of all nutrients enhanced biomass productivity by a factor of two over a batch cultivation process at equivalent total nutrient loadings in a stirred-tank photobioreactor. Peak productivity through fed-batch cultivation was 57 mg DCW L−1 day−1, and average final biomass densities exceeded 1800 mg DCW L−1, vs. 30 mg DCW L−1 day−1 and 800–900 mg DCW L−1 for batch cultivation. However, there was a limit to biomass productivity enhancement at cumulative nutrient loadings greater than 3X GP2 that was not the result of insufficient CO2 or light delivery. It is suggested that the formation of large, multicellular clumps approaching 1-mm diameter during stirred-tank cultivation may have ultimately reduced biomass productivity during fed-batch cultivation under nutrient-replete conditions. Therefore, future bioreactor processing strategies might consider mechanical blending to disperse the filament clumps during the cultivation process.