Optimizing microalgae yield and high value molecule production in dim green light


Dr Sofie Spatharis, School of Biodiversity, One Health and Veterinary Medicine (University of Glasgow)

Dr Eirini Kaserli, School of Molecular Biosciences (University of Glasgow) 

Dr Douglas McKenzie, Phycofoods Ltd (Phyco-F Ltd.)



Marine microalgae have a great potential for sustainable industrial production of biomass yield and high value products as they do not rely on freshwater or arable land. However, to fulfil this potential, urgent research is required on optimising industrial settings that will guarantee maximal production at a reduced operational cost. A major factor that directly governs the growth, photosynthesis and biochemical composition of microalgae is light. Currently, indoor industrial photobioreactors using LED light technology are increasingly tested to boost production with the advantages of using a continuous light source at a considerably lower cost than fluorescent lights. Some studies suggest that LED wavelengths of specific wavelengths, rather than the golden standard, broad spectrum LED, can further help boost biomass, pigment concentration and high value molecules (eg fatty acids). However, no consensus has been reached on the optimal LED wavelength nor the physiological and molecular mechanisms underlying this. The present project aims to address these knowledge gaps testing and mechanistically analysing the response of biotechnologically promising microalgae to different wavelengths of LED light in highly sophisticated industrial photobioreactor settings. The student will be trained by an interdisciplinary team of researchers on analysis that are highly sought by the market including gene expression, lipidomics, spectrophotometry, cell counting, in addition to experimental design, data analysis and scientific writing and communication.