Microalgae belong to the fastest growing photosynthetic organisms since their cell doubling time can be as little as a few hours. Biomass production by microalgae (oxygenic photosynthetic organisms) is based on the simple scheme shown below, which determines all the necessary require ments of this biological process:
CO2 + H2O + nutrients + light energy ! biomass + O2
In biotechnology, generally, the production of biomass requires well defined conditions. The necessary cultiva tion requirements for the growth of microalgal mass cultures are light, a suitable temperature and pH, and a sufficient carbon and nutrient supply in the growth med ium. Since microalgal mass cultures grow in dense suspensions, some kind of turbulent mixing is necessary to expose cells to light and to allow for an efficient mass transfer.
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