Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.5, 2139-2156, 2021
Effect of pluronic block polymers and N-acetylcysteine culture media additives on growth rate and fatty acid composition of six marine microalgae species
The efficiency of microalgal biomass production is a determining factor for the economic competitiveness of microalgae-based industries. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and pluronic block polymers are two compounds of interest as novel culture media constituents because of their respective protective properties against oxidative stress and shear-stress-induced cell damage. Here we quantify the effect of NAC and two pluronic (F127 and F68) culture media additives upon the culture productivity of six marine microalgal species of relevance to the aquaculture industry (four diatoms-Chaetoceros calcitrans, Chaetoceros muelleri, Skeletonema costatum, and Thalassiosira pseudonana; two haptophytes-Tisochrysis lutea and Pavlova salina). Algal culture performance in response to the addition of NAC and pluronic, singly or combined, is dosage- and species-dependent. Combined NAC and pluronic F127 algal culture media additives resulted in specific growth rate increases of 38%, 16%, and 24% for C. calcitrans, C. muelleri, and P. salina, respectively. Enhanced culture productivity for strains belonging to the genus Chaetoceros was paired with an similar to 27% increase in stationary-phase cell density. For some of the species examined, culture media enrichments with NAC and pluronic resulted in increased omega-3-fatty acid content of the algal biomass. Larval development (i.e., growth and survival) of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) was not changed when fed a mixture of microalgae grown in NAC- and F127-supplemented culture medium. Based upon these results, we propose that culture media enrichment with NAC and pluronic F127 is an effective and easily adopted approach to increase algal productivity and enhance the nutritional quality of marine microalgal strains commonly cultured for live-feed applications in aquaculture.