Scalable Cultivation of Engineered Cyanobacteria for Squalene Production from Industrial Flue Gas in a Closed Photobioreactor

Sun Young Choi, Sang Jun Sim, Sung Cheon Ko, Jigyeong Son, Jeong Seop Lee, Hyun Jeong Lee, Won Seok Chang, Han Min Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Economically feasible photosynthetic cultivation of microalgal and cyanobacterial strains is crucial for the biological conversion of CO2 and potential CO2 mitigation to challenge global warming. To overcome the economic barriers, the production of value-added chemicals was desired by compensating for the overall processing cost. Here, we engineered cyanobacteria for photosynthetic squalene production and cultivated them in a scalable photobioreactor using industrial flue gas. First, an inducer-free gene expression system was developed for the cyanobacteria to lower production const. Then, the recombinant cyanobacteria were cultivated in a closed photobioreactor (100 L) using flue gas (5% CO2) as the sole carbon source under natural sunlight as the only energy source. Seasonal light intensities and temperatures were analyzed along with cyanobacterial cell growth and squalene production in August and October 2019. As a result, the effective irradiation hours were the most critical factor for the large-scale cultivation of cyanobacteria. Thus, an automated photobioprocess system will be developed based on the regional light sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10050-10055
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of agricultural and food chemistry
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept 16

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Korea CCS R&D center (KCRC) (2017M1A8A1072034, 2014M1A8A1049278) through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Korean government (Ministry of Science and ICT).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • cyanobacteria
  • flue gas
  • outdoor cultivation
  • squalene
  • synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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