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Characterization of microalgae for CO2 biofixation and manipulation of its biochemical composition for industrial applications

Grant number: 19/07579-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2020
Effective date (End): May 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Applied Botany
Principal researcher:Ana Teresa Lombardi
Grantee:Jaqueline Carmo da Silva
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/07988-5 - Bioprospecting, characterization and optimization of Brazilian microalgal strains for CO2 biofixation and bioproducts of commercial importance, AP.TEM


Algae are fast growing photosynthetic organisms with relatively simple nutritional requirements. They are capable of synthesizing high value-added biomolecules in great variety that finds application in different productive sectors. Natural products are gaining importance because they can substitute synthetic compounds, which tend to be more allergenic. Because of microalgae physiological plasticity, manipulation of its biochemical composition induced by abiotic stress can lead to the increase of biomolecules of interest. Our objectives are to investigate the physiology of 15 - 20 microalgae strains belonging to different groups, including diatoms, Cyanobacteria and Chlorophyta. Under controlled conditions, the cultures will be exposed to different light colors and copper concentrations as means of manipulating the production of naturally occurring intracellular biomolecules. In addition, CO2 biofixation will be quantified aiming at associating high biotechnological productivity of microalgae with the reduction of an important greenhouse gas. Biomolecules such as total carbohydrates, total lipids, fatty acids composition, carotenoids, antioxidants, proteins and amino acids profile will be determined for every condition tested. Knowing microalgae biochemical composition, helps understanding their physiology and different applications of the biomass can be foreseen. Some of the intracellular products will be applied and tested in cosmetic formulas. We expect to increase the content of carotenoids and antioxidants, compounds to will be applied in cosmetic formulas, in the cells after exposure different light color and copper concentrations without affect growth rate and define a pair microalgae-technological process that is applicable in larger cultures. This PhD is divided into four chapters having the first two developed in Brazil at Federal University of São Carlos supervised by Profa. Ana T. Lombardi and the last two chapters developed at Málaga University (Spain) being supervised by Prof. Felix D. Figueroa. The first three chapters involve laboratory scale experiments and the last one will be focused in large scale cultures. (AU)

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