Efficiency of light utilization of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii under medium-duration light/dark cycles

M. Janssen, M. de Winter, J. Tramper, L.R. Mur, J. Snel, R.H. Wijffels

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    The light regime inside a photobioreactor is characterized by a light gradient with full (sun)light at the light-exposed surface and darkness in the interior of the bioreactor. Consequently, depending on the mixing characteristics, algae will be exposed to certain light/dark cycles. In this study the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was cultivated under five different light regimes: (1) continuous illumination; (2) a square-wave light/dark cycle with a light fraction () of 0.5 and a duration (tc) of 6.1 s; (3) =0.5, tc=14.5 s; (4) =0.5, tc=24.3 s and (5) =0.8, tc=15.2 s. The biomass yield on light energy, protein per photons, decreased under light/dark cycles (=0.5) in comparison to continuous light (CL), from 0.207 (CL) to 0.117–0.153 g mol−1 (=0.5). Concomitantly, the maximal specific photosynthetic activity, oxygen production per protein, decreased from 0.94 (CL) to 0.64–0.66 g g−1 h−1 (=0.5). Also the quantum yield of photochemistry, yield of the conversion of light energy into chemical energy, decreased from 0.47 (CL) to 0.23 (=0.5, tc=24.3 s). Apparently, C. reinhardtii is not able to maintain a high photosynthetic capacity under medium-duration light/dark cycles and since specific light absorption did not change, light utilization efficiency decreased in comparison to continuous illumination.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)123-137
    JournalJournal of Biotechnology
    Publication statusPublished - 2000

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