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New Microalgal Strains for Converting CO2 Rich Flue Gases into Valuable Biomass: An Assessment of Microalgal Diversity from "CO2 Fumarole - Dunsthöhle"

Diwan, Vaibhav (2013) MOBN15 20122
Degree Projects in Molecular Biology
Abstract
Popular science summary

New microalgal strains for converting CO2 rich flue gasses into valuable biomass

Global depletion of fossil fuels and climate change due to Green House Gases (GHGs) emissions are presently faced two serious challenges. It has been known from quite long that increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (mainly CO2) in the atmosphere is the key cause for global climate change. The major part of these CO2 emissions is contributed by flue gases released by various industries and power plants. Thus, it becomes important to explore renewable and cost effective means to avoid the environmental damages caused by excessive CO2 emissions.

Amongst other approaches, production of biomass using biotechnological... (More)
Popular science summary

New microalgal strains for converting CO2 rich flue gasses into valuable biomass

Global depletion of fossil fuels and climate change due to Green House Gases (GHGs) emissions are presently faced two serious challenges. It has been known from quite long that increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (mainly CO2) in the atmosphere is the key cause for global climate change. The major part of these CO2 emissions is contributed by flue gases released by various industries and power plants. Thus, it becomes important to explore renewable and cost effective means to avoid the environmental damages caused by excessive CO2 emissions.

Amongst other approaches, production of biomass using biotechnological processes for fixation of CO2 is considered to be a potential niche for reducing emissions of this gas pollutant. There is a growing consensus that microalgae cultivation must be linked to wastewater treatment and consumption of CO2 rich flue gases. This could be helpful in establishing economically feasible production process and may also reduce Green House Gases (GHGs) emissions. Despite many promising characteristics of microalgae some basic issues remain unresolved and one of them is the choice of appropriate strain for sustainable biomass production.

This project attempts to answer this question at the fundamental level and involved the identification of new algal and cyanobacterial strains that can convert CO2 rich flue gases into valuable biomass. Using the culture-independent and culture-dependent approaches an assessment of algal and cyanobacterial diversity from a CO2 fumarole called “Dunsthöhle” at Bad Pyrmont, Germany was performed. Dunsthöhle is an unusual, extreme and extraordinarily interesting terrestrial habitat to recover microalgae that are adapted to cope with high partial pressures of CO2 in the air. Inside Dunsthöhle the green biofilm grows submerged throughout the year under a rather high CO2 partial pressure i.e. 40%/60% CO2/air mixture. Molecular (18S, 16S rDNA, ITS2 sequence + secondary structure) and microscopic analysis of the green biofilm revealed: Nannochloris-, Stichococcus- and Auxenochlorella-related green algae are growing in Dunsthöhle. Similar analysis from cultures revealed presence of Jenufa-, Scotiellopsis- and Dilabifilum-related green algae (in addition to Nannochloris-related algae). Identical Leptolyngbya-like cyanobacterium was also obtained from both approaches. Additionally, Nannochloris-like algae were found to be the most abundant and diverse green algae growing in Dunsthöhle. The identified isolates are recommended for gas and liquid phase studies.

This study was one of the first microalgal diversity studies in relation to long term exposure of extremely high CO2 concentrations in terrestrial habitat. This study provides valuable data for commercial and carbon sequestration applications. It also opens new avenues for fundamental research in the fields of micro-algal physiology and phylogenetics.

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Thomas Friedl
Master´s Degree Project 45 credits in Cell and Molecular Biology 2013
Department of Biology, Lund University (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Diwan, Vaibhav
supervisor
organization
course
MOBN15 20122
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
4157496
date added to LUP
2013-11-18 15:54:59
date last changed
2013-11-18 15:54:59
@misc{4157496,
  abstract     = {Popular science summary

New microalgal strains for converting CO2 rich flue gasses into valuable biomass

Global depletion of fossil fuels and climate change due to Green House Gases (GHGs) emissions are presently faced two serious challenges. It has been known from quite long that increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (mainly CO2) in the atmosphere is the key cause for global climate change. The major part of these CO2 emissions is contributed by flue gases released by various industries and power plants. Thus, it becomes important to explore renewable and cost effective means to avoid the environmental damages caused by excessive CO2 emissions. 

Amongst other approaches, production of biomass using biotechnological processes for fixation of CO2 is considered to be a potential niche for reducing emissions of this gas pollutant. There is a growing consensus that microalgae cultivation must be linked to wastewater treatment and consumption of CO2 rich flue gases. This could be helpful in establishing economically feasible production process and may also reduce Green House Gases (GHGs) emissions. Despite many promising characteristics of microalgae some basic issues remain unresolved and one of them is the choice of appropriate strain for sustainable biomass production.

This project attempts to answer this question at the fundamental level and involved the identification of new algal and cyanobacterial strains that can convert CO2 rich flue gases into valuable biomass. Using the culture-independent and culture-dependent approaches an assessment of algal and cyanobacterial diversity from a CO2 fumarole called “Dunsthöhle” at Bad Pyrmont, Germany was performed. Dunsthöhle is an unusual, extreme and extraordinarily interesting terrestrial habitat to recover microalgae that are adapted to cope with high partial pressures of CO2 in the air. Inside Dunsthöhle the green biofilm grows submerged throughout the year under a rather high CO2 partial pressure i.e. 40%/60% CO2/air mixture. Molecular (18S, 16S rDNA, ITS2 sequence + secondary structure) and microscopic analysis of the green biofilm revealed: Nannochloris-, Stichococcus- and Auxenochlorella-related green algae are growing in Dunsthöhle. Similar analysis from cultures revealed presence of Jenufa-, Scotiellopsis- and Dilabifilum-related green algae (in addition to Nannochloris-related algae). Identical Leptolyngbya-like cyanobacterium was also obtained from both approaches. Additionally, Nannochloris-like algae were found to be the most abundant and diverse green algae growing in Dunsthöhle. The identified isolates are recommended for gas and liquid phase studies. 

This study was one of the first microalgal diversity studies in relation to long term exposure of extremely high CO2 concentrations in terrestrial habitat. This study provides valuable data for commercial and carbon sequestration applications. It also opens new avenues for fundamental research in the fields of micro-algal physiology and phylogenetics. 

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Thomas Friedl
Master´s Degree Project 45 credits in Cell and Molecular Biology 2013
Department of Biology, Lund University},
  author       = {Diwan, Vaibhav},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {New Microalgal Strains for Converting CO2 Rich Flue Gases into Valuable Biomass: An Assessment of Microalgal Diversity from "CO2 Fumarole - Dunsthöhle"},
  year         = {2013},
}