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The role of NaCL on the physiology and biomolecules production in the microalga Curvastrum pantanale

Grant number: 20/15953-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2021
Effective date (End): August 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Applied Botany
Principal researcher:Ana Teresa Lombardi
Grantee:Flávio Daniel Lucyrio de Lima
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/07988-5 - Bioprospecting, characterization and optimization of Brazilian microalgal strains for CO2 biofixation and bioproducts of commercial importance, AP.TEM


Microalgae products are expensive mostly due to the difficulties and price of their production. If the biomolecules/products they synthesise can be increased by a technological process, as a consequence cost reduction can be obtained. It is known that microalgae adapt themselves to variations of environmental conditions by synthesizing different quality and quantity of intracellular biomolecules. Therefore if the biochemical composition of microalgae can be manipulated, a strategy for increasing their biomolecules will be created. Several studies indicate that agents such as NaCl, certain metals, and different light colors can be successfully used to induce the synthesis of biomolecules of interest in microalgae, a result of cell stress. In this research our aims are to define one or more NaCl concentrations that increase in the production of biomolecules without necessarily reducing the microalgae growth rate. The microalgae Chlorophyceae Curvastrum pantanale will be used for the development of this proposal, which is divided into two stages. The first aims at defining NaCl concentrations that do not significantly affect the growth rate and will be done by scanning 16 to 20 concentrations of the salt in 96-well plates and quantifying just population growth by absorption in spectrophotometer at 684 nm (chlorophyll a) and 570 nm. The second stage consists of cultivating the microalgae in cylindrical photobioreactors of 250 mL capacity at the NaCl concentration(s) defined in stage 1 as the highest concentration that still do not affect growth rate. Biomolecules as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, carotenoids, and chlorophylls a and b will be determined. It is expected that at least one NaCl concentration will maximize the production of biomolecules in C. pantanale. The importance of this research relies in the contribution to microalgae biotechnology industry, which has been growing under the perspective of the versatility of microalgae in producing compounds with high added value. (AU)

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