Bioresource Technology, Vol.271, 316-324, 2019
Sustainable production of biomass and biodiesel by acclimation of non-acidophilic microalgae to acidic conditions
The overwhelming response towards algal biodiesel production has been well-recognized recently as a sustainable alternative to conventional fuels. Most microalgae cannot grow well at acidic pH. The present study, therefore, investigated whether non-acidophilic microalgae Desmodesmus sp. MAS1 and Heterochlorella sp. MAS3 can be acclimated to extreme-acidic pH for sustainable production of biomass and biodiesel. Growth analysis indicated that both the microalgal strains possessed a passive uptake of CO2 at pH 3.0 with biomass production of 0.25 g dry wt.L-1 in Desmodemus sp. and 0.45 g dry wt.L-1 in Heterochlorella sp.. Flow-cytometry analysis for reactive oxygen species, membrane permeability and neutral-lipids revealed the capabilities of both strains to adapt to the stress imposed by acidic pH. Lipid production was doubled in both the strains when grown at pH 3.0. In-situ transesterification of biomass resulted in 13-15% FAME yield in the selected microalgae, indicating their great potential in biofuel production.