Higher biomass productivity of microalgae in an attached growth system, using wastewater

Seung Hoon Lee, Hee Mock Oh, Beom Ho Jo, Sang A. Lee, Sang Yoon Shin, Hee Sik Kim, Sang-Hyup Lee, Chi Yong Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


Although most algae cultivation systems are operated in suspended culture, an attached growth system can offer several advantages over suspended systems. Algal cultivation becomes light-limited as the microalgal concentration increases in the suspended system; on the other hand, sunlight penetrates deeper and stronger in attached systems owing to the more transparent water. Such higher availability of sunlight makes it possible to operate a raceway pond deeper than usual, resulting in a higher areal productivity. The attached system achieved 2.8-times higher biomass productivity and total lipid productivity of 9.1 g m-2 day-1and 1.9 g m-2 day-1, respectively, than the suspended system. Biomass productivity can be further increased by optimization of the culture conditions. Moreover, algal biomass harvesting and dewatering were made simpler and cheaper in attached systems, because mesh-type substrates with attached microalgae were easily removed from the culture and the remaining treated wastewater could be discharged directly. When the algal biomass was dewatered using natural sunlight, the palmitic acid (C16:0) content increased by 16% compared with the freeze-drying method. There was no great difference in other fatty acid composition. Therefore, the attached system for algal cultivation is a promising cultivation system for mass biodiesel production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1566-1573
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 1


  • Attached growth
  • Biodiesel
  • Cultivation
  • Microalgae
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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