Sugarcane is an eco-friendly option for the improved production of biomass in marine algae

Taiwanese and Vietnamese researchers tested hydrolized sugarcane bagasse as a carbon-rich substrate for Schizochytrium microalgae. They wanted to determine if sugarcane bagasse is an inexpensive means of boosting the biomass and lipids produced by the microalgae, which are being considered for use in the production of biofuel.

The study was supported by Ton Duc Thang University and Ming Chi University of Technology. The results were published in the journal Industrial Crops and Products.

  • Oleaginous microalgae can convert all kinds of carbon substrates into large amounts of lipids, which can then be processed into biofuel. The Schizochytrium species of green microalgae is considered a potentially rich source of biodiesel.
  • Sugarcane bagasse received alkali and phosphoric acid pretreatment to get rid of lignin while also increasing the production of xylose. The pretreated material underwent enzymatic hydrolysis to produce its hydrolysate.
  • Schizochytrium microalgae were grown in carbon-rich substrate. The substrate for each group was made of different amounts of either refined glucose or the newly-prepared sugarcane bagasse hydrolysate. The rate of cell growth and lipid accumulation for each set was evaluated.
  • Microalgae raised in sugarcane bagasse hydrolysate enjoyed higher cell growth. Furthermore, they accumulated more lipids than their counterparts, which were grown in refined glucose.
  • Growing Schizochytrium in sugarcane bagasse hydrolysate resulted in higher concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PFA). They also contained greater amounts of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

The researchers concluded that sugarcane bagasse is a cheap and effective source of substrate material for Schizochytrium cultivation, being able to outperform refined glucose in both cost and efficiency.

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Journal Reference:

Nguyen HC, Su C-H, Yu Y-K, Huong DTM. SUGARCANE BAGASSE AS A NOVEL CARBON SOURCE FOR HETEROTROPHIC CULTIVATION OF OLEAGINOUS MICROALGA SCHIZOCHYTRIUM SP. Industrial Crops and Products. 9 May 2018; 121:99–105. DOI: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2018.05.005

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