Biomass productivity of two Scenedesmus strains cultivated semi-continuously in outdoor raceway ponds and flat-panel photobioreactors

Everett Eustance, Shahrzad Badvipour, Joshua T. Wray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Semi-continuous algal cultivation was completed in outdoor flat-panel photobioreactors (panels) and open raceway ponds (raceways) from February 17 to May 7, 2015 for side-by-side comparison of areal productivities at the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation in Mesa, AZ, USA. Experiments used two strains of Scenedesmus acutus (strains LB 0414 and LB 0424) to assess productivity, areal density, nutrient removal, and harvest volume across cultivation systems and algal strains. Panels showed an average biomass productivity of 19.0 ± 0.6 g m−2 day−1 compared to 6.62 ± 2.3 g m−2 day−1 for raceways. Photosynthetic efficiency ranged between 1.32 and 2.24 % for panels and between 0.30 and 0.68 % for raceways. Panels showed an average nitrogen consumption rate of 38.4 ± 8.6 mg N L−1 day−1. Cultivation in raceways showed a consumption rate of 3.8 ± 2.5 and 7.1 ± 4.2 mg N L−1 day−1 for February/March and April/May, respectively, due to increase in biomass productivity. Excess nutrients were required to prevent a decrease in productivity. Daily biomass harvest volumes between 18 and 36 % from panels did not affect culture productivity, but density decreased with increased harvest volume. High cultivation temperatures above 30 °C caused strain LB 0414 to lyse and crash. Strain LB 0424 did not show any difference in biomass productivity when peak temperatures reached 34, 38, or 42 °C, but showed decreased productivity when the peak temperature during cultivation was 30 °C. Using algal strains with different temperature tolerances can generate increased annual biomass productivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1471-1483
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Algae
  • Areal productivity
  • Biomass production
  • Nitrogen consumption
  • Semi-continuous cultivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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