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Study of using bicarbonate as a carbon source in cultivation of the microalgae Scenedesmus obliquus

Grant number: 12/20024-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2012
Effective date (End): November 30, 2013
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Food Science and Technology
Principal Investigator:João Carlos Monteiro de Carvalho
Grantee:Thais Fukui de Sousa
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas (FCF). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Microalgae are unicellular organisms, and photosynthetic eukaryotes that have great potential for the production of fatty acids and pigments such as carotenoids and chlorophyll a, with interest in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Unicellular photosynthetic organisms are able to use light energy much more efficiently than higher plants and are efficient carbon dioxide fixer. Recent patent application showed the feasibility of the use of CO2 from alcoholic fermentation in the production of photosynthetic microorganisms. However, due to high ethanol production in our country, the amount of CO2 produced per crop can be extremely large and cannot be totally used directly in the cultivation of microalgae. This surplus gas could be set in an alkaline solution to form bicarbonate, to be added to the culture medium of microalgae. Therefore cultivation of Scenedesmus obliquus using sodium bicarbonate as a carbon source will be studied, in order to verify the suitability of using this salt to complement and/or substitute the addition of CO2 throughout the cultivation.