Research article Special Issues

Improved growth and harvesting of microalgae Chlorella vulgaris on textile fabrics as 2.5D substrates

  • Received: 21 September 2020 Accepted: 17 November 2020 Published: 26 November 2020
  • The green microalgae Chlorella vulgaris can be used in diverse applications from food to biofuel production. Growing them in suspension leads to challenging harvesting and processing. One possibility to overcome these problems is growing them as biofilms, i.e. adhering on a surface. While previous experiments of several research groups concentrated on flat, rigid surfaces, partly chemically modified, here the possibility to grow them on different textile substrates was investigated which were shown to be suitable as substrates for germination and growth of higher plants. Microalgae were counted after one week, subdivided into adhered and suspended ones, to evaluate the ideal substrate for cultivation and harvesting. The results show clear differences between the different woven and knitted fabrics from diverse materials, indicating that especially an open-pore jute woven fabric increased the overall algae concentration by approx. a factor of 2 and increased the adhesion of C. vulgaris by a factor of 5-10, as compared to most other textile substrates under investigation, followed by two other hairy knitted fabrics. Such textile fabrics can thus be suggested as possible substrates for improved growth and harvesting of this microalga.

    Citation: Bennet Brockhagen, Jan Lukas Storck, Timo Grothe, Robin Böttjer, Andrea Ehrmann. Improved growth and harvesting of microalgae Chlorella vulgaris on textile fabrics as 2.5D substrates[J]. AIMS Bioengineering, 2021, 8(1): 16-24. doi: 10.3934/bioeng.2021003

    Related Papers:

  • The green microalgae Chlorella vulgaris can be used in diverse applications from food to biofuel production. Growing them in suspension leads to challenging harvesting and processing. One possibility to overcome these problems is growing them as biofilms, i.e. adhering on a surface. While previous experiments of several research groups concentrated on flat, rigid surfaces, partly chemically modified, here the possibility to grow them on different textile substrates was investigated which were shown to be suitable as substrates for germination and growth of higher plants. Microalgae were counted after one week, subdivided into adhered and suspended ones, to evaluate the ideal substrate for cultivation and harvesting. The results show clear differences between the different woven and knitted fabrics from diverse materials, indicating that especially an open-pore jute woven fabric increased the overall algae concentration by approx. a factor of 2 and increased the adhesion of C. vulgaris by a factor of 5-10, as compared to most other textile substrates under investigation, followed by two other hairy knitted fabrics. Such textile fabrics can thus be suggested as possible substrates for improved growth and harvesting of this microalga.


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    Acknowledgments



    The project was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in the scope of the ZIM project ZF4036107. The APC is funded by the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)–414001623. The authors acknowledge Inken Blanca Post, Thorsten Bache and Rumen Korchev for producing some of the weft-knitted fabrics under examination.

    Conflict of interest



    The authors declare no conflict of interest.

    Author contributions:



    Bennet Brockhagen: investigation, evaluation, conceptualization; Jan Lukas Storck, Timo Grothe, Robin Böttjer: conceptualization; Andrea Ehrmann: writing – first draft. All authors read and substantially modified the manuscript.

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