469398 An Ecological and Engineering Approach to Optimizing Algal Biofuels

Friday, November 18, 2016: 10:35 AM
Golden Gate 7 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
David Carruthers1, Chang Kyu Byun2, Bradley J. Cardinale3 and Xiaoxia (Nina) Lin1, (1)Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, (2)Department of Applied Chemistry, DaeJeon University, Daejeon, Korea, The Republic of, (3)School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI

Algae are ubiquitous in natural ecosystems and have been studied extensively due to their versatility for biofuel production. Most studies to date have been conducted on the grounds of synthetic biology and process engineering with few industrial scale projects considering algal community interactions. Such interactions have often indicated the propensity of increasing overall productivity and reducing community invasability, both important characteristics for scalable projects. Over 30,000 species of algae have currently been identified with another 20,000 estimated to exist. Within this context, elucidation of these relationships remains extremely resource and time intensive. This research describes a strategy for rapid, high-throughput screening of algal community combinations using a microfluidic platform to synthesize millions of parallel, nanoliter-scale algal communities for analysis of biomass accumulation. Model communities were first studied in a bench scale flask experiment and then examined using microfluidic droplets. These experiments showed consistent results on both positively and negatively interacting algal bicultures. Specifically, these include better performance of two bicultures, Ankistrodesmus falcatus and Chlorella sorokiniana, Chlorella sorokiniana and Selenastrum minutum, and reduced performance of a biculture consisting of Selenastrum capricornutum and Scenedesmus ecornis. While the holistic success of algal biofuels hinges on an amalgamation of scientific fields, rapid screening of algal communities will prove imperative for discovering community interactions and ideally facilitating a mechanistic analysis of how such interactions arise in natural communities.

Extended Abstract: File Not Uploaded
See more of this Session: Advances in Algal Biorefineries I
See more of this Group/Topical: Sustainable Engineering Forum