A Novel System for Real-Time, In Situ Monitoring of CO2 Sequestration in Photoautotrophic Biofilms

Patrick Ronan, Otini Kroukamp, Steven N. Liss, Gideon Wolfaardt
2020 Microorganisms  
Climate change brought about by anthropogenic CO2 emissions has created a critical need for effective CO2 management solutions. Microalgae are well suited to contribute to efforts aimed at addressing this challenge, given their ability to rapidly sequester CO2 coupled with the commercial value of their biomass. Recently, microalgal biofilms have garnered significant attention over the more conventional suspended algal growth systems, since they allow for easier and cheaper biomass harvesting,
more » ... omass harvesting, among other key benefits. However, the path to cost-effectiveness and scaling up is hindered by a need for new tools and methodologies which can help evaluate, and in turn optimize, algal biofilm growth. Presented here is a novel system which facilitates the real-time in situ monitoring of algal biofilm CO2 sequestration. Utilizing a CO2-permeable membrane and a tube-within-a-tube design, the CO2 sequestration monitoring system (CSMS) was able to reliably detect slight changes in algal biofilm CO2 uptake brought about by light–dark cycling, light intensity shifts, and varying amounts of phototrophic biomass. This work presents an approach to advance our understanding of carbon flux in algal biofilms, and a base for potentially useful innovations to optimize, and eventually realize, algae biofilm-based CO2 sequestration.
doi:10.3390/microorganisms8081163 pmid:32751859 fatcat:eydlpfzyczcwfmjpp3qhayz4eu