Two-stage cultivation of Nannochloropsis oculata for lipid production using reversible alkaline flocculation

Gibran Sidney Aléman-Nava, Koenraad Muylaert, Sara Paulina Cuellar Bermudez, Orily Depraetere, Bruce Rittmann, Roberto Parra-Saldívar, Dries Vandamme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Two-stage cultivation for microalgae biomass is a promising strategy to boost lipid accumulation and productivity. Most of the currently described processes use energy-intensive centrifugation for cell separation after the first cultivation stage. This laboratory study evaluated alkaline flocculation as low-cost alternative separation method to harvest Nannochloropsis oculata prior to cultivation in the second nutrient-depleted cultivation stage. Biomass concentration over time and the maximum quantum yield of photosystem II expressed as Fv:Fm ratio showed identical patterns for both harvesting methods in both stages. The composition of total lipids, carbohydrates, and protein was similar for biomass harvested via alkaline flocculation or centrifugation. Likewise, both harvest methods yielded the same increase in total lipid content, to 40% within the first 2 days of the nutrient-depleted stage, with an enrichment in C16 fatty acid methyl esters. Centrifugation can therefore be replaced with alkaline flocculation to harvest Nannochloropsis oculata after the first cultivation stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Algae
  • Flocculation
  • Lipids
  • Nutrient starvation
  • Separation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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