Potential of novel desert microalgae and cyanobacteria for commercial applications and CO2 sequestration

Kira Schipper*, Mariam Al Muraikhi, Ghamza Saed H.S. Alghasal, Imen Saadaoui, Touria Bounnit, Rihab Rasheed, Tasneem Dalgamouni, Hareb Mohammed S.J. Al Jabri, René H. Wijffels, Maria J. Barbosa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


CO2 fixation by phototrophic microalgae and cyanobacteria is seen as a possible global carbon emissions reducer; however, novel microalgae and cyanobacterial strains with tolerance to elevated temperatures and CO2 concentrations are essential for further development of algae-based carbon capture. Four novel strains isolated from the Arabian Gulf were investigated for their thermotolerance and CO2-tolerance, as well as their carbon capture capability. Two strains, Leptolyngbya sp. and Picochlorum sp., grew well at 40 °C, with productivities of 106.6 ± 10.0 and 87.5 ± 2.1 mg biomass L−1 d−1, respectively. Tetraselmis sp. isolate showed the highest biomass productivity and carbon capture rate of 157.7 ± 10.3 mg biomass L−1 d−1 and 270.8 ± 23.9 mg CO2 L−1 d−1, respectively, both at 30 °C. Under 20% CO2, the biomass productivity increased over 2-fold for both Tetraselmis and Picochlorum isolates, to 333.8 ± 41.1 and 244.7 ± 29.5 mg biomass L−1 d−1. These two isolates also presented significant amounts of lipids, up to 25.6 ± 0.9% and 28.0 ± 2.0% (w/w), as well as presence of EPA and DHA. Picochlorum sp. was found to have a suitable FAME profile for biodiesel production. Both Tetraselmis and Picochlorum isolates showed promising characteristics, making them valuable strains for further investigation towards commercial applications and CO2 capture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2231-2243
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number4
Early online date8 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Carbon capture
  • CO
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Microalgae
  • Thermotolerance

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