Effect of inorganic carbon on photoautotrophic growth of microalga Chlorococcum littorale

Masaki Ota, Yoshitaka Kato, Hiromoto Watanabe, Masaru Watanabe, Yoshiyuki Sato, Richard L. Smith, Hiroshi Inomata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The growth rate of a highly CO2-tolerant green alga, Chlorococcum littorale, was investigated in semi-batch cultures at a temperature of 22°C, a light intensity of 170 μmol-photon m-2 s -1 and CO2 concentrations ranging from 1 to 50% (v/v) at atmospheric pressure. In the experiments, solutions were bubbled with CO 2 and N2 gas mixtures to adjust CO2 concentrations to minimize the influence of O2. Growth rate, which was defined in terms of a specific growth rate μ, decreased with increasing CO2 concentration at the conditions studied. The inhibition of growth by CO2 gas could be attributed to the concentration of inorganic carbon in the culture medium. A growth model is proposed where key assumptions are the formation of bicarbonate ion HCO3- as substrate for algal growth and equilibrium between CO2 inhibitor. The proposed growth model based on the Monod equation agreed with the experimental data to within 5% and provides better correlation than the conventional inhibition model, especially in the high CO2 concentration region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-498
Number of pages7
JournalBiotechnology Progress
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar 1


  • Biomass
  • CO concentration mechanism (CCM)
  • Cell growth
  • Model
  • Monod equation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology


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