F. G. Acién Fernández

Universidad de Almería, Unci, Andalusia, Spain

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Publications (38)131.38 Total impact

  • K.C. Tran · J.L. Mendoza Martin · S. Heaven · C.J. Banks · F.G. Acien Fernandez · E. Molina Grima ·
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    ABSTRACT: Digestibility of a micro-algal mixture was evaluated by mesophilic anaerobic digestion in continuously-stirred tank reactors. The culture consisted primarily of Scenedesmus spp. continuously cultivated over a 6-month period in a 100 m2 raceway reactor instrumented to record pH, dissolved oxygen and temperature. The raceway received supplementary carbon in the form of flue gas from a diesel boiler (10% CO2) injected into a 1-m deep sump to control pH in the range 7.8–8.0. Dilution was optimised to biomass productivity and gave values of 10–15 and 20–25 g total suspended solids (TSS) m− 2 day− 1 in winter (December–February) and spring (April–May), respectively. The culture for the anaerobic digestion trial was harvested in February by centrifugation to give an algal paste containing 4.3% volatile solids (VS). Semi-continuous digestion at organic loading rates of 2.00, 2.75 and 3.50 g VS l− 1 day− 1 gave volumetric biogas productions of ~ 0.66, ~ 0.83 and ~ 0.99 l l− 1 day− 1, respectively. Specific methane yield ranged from 0.13 to 0.14 l CH4 g− 1 VSadded with biogas methane content ~ 62%. Overall the digestion process was stable, but only ~ 30% VS destruction was achieved indicating low biodegradability, due to the short retention times and the recalcitrant nature of this type of biomass.
    Algal Research 07/2014; 5(1):95–102. DOI:10.1016/j.algal.2014.06.001 · 5.01 Impact Factor
  • F. G. Acién Fernández · J. M. Fernández Sevilla · E. Molina Grima ·
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    ABSTRACT: Microalgae are produced today for human and animal markets, as food-feed and source of active compounds. Microalgae can be also used in wastewater treatment and they has been proposed as biofuels source to reduce global warming problem. Whatever the final application of microalgae its production is based on the same principles as light availability, enough mass and heat transfer and adequate control of culture parameters. In this paper these principals are revised. Moreover, the production must be carried out at adequate scale using photobioreactors. Design of photobioreactor is determined by the final use of biomass and quality required. Different designs today used are revised, including last designs proposed, identifying his characteristics parameters and applications. In addition, the obligation of adequate control strategies is discussed. Finally, the bottlenecks for the scale-up of the different technologies and thus of microalgae production are summarized.
    Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology 06/2013; 12(2). DOI:10.1007/s11157-012-9307-6 · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A new methodology to use efficiently flue gases as CO(2) source in the production of photosynthetic microorganisms is proposed. The CO(2) is absorbed in an aqueous phase that is then regenerated by microalgae. Carbonated solutions could absorb up to 80% of the CO(2) from diluted gas reaching total inorganic carbon (TIC) concentrations up to 2.0 g/L. The pH of the solution was maintained at 8.0-10.0 by the bicarbonate/carbonate buffer, so it is compatible with biological regeneration. The absorption process was modeled and the kinetic parameters were determined. Anabaena sp. demonstrated to tolerate pH (8.0-10.0) and TIC (up to 2.0 g/L) conditions imposed by the absorption step. Experiments of regeneration of the liquid phase demonstrated the feasibility of the overall process, converting CO(2) into organic matter. The developed process avoids heating to regenerate the liquid whereas maximizing the efficiency of CO(2) use, which is relevant to achieve the commercial production of biofuels from microalgae.
    Biotechnology and Bioengineering 07/2012; 109(7):1637-50. DOI:10.1002/bit.24446 · 4.13 Impact Factor
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    J M Romero García · F G Acién Fernández · J M Fernández Sevilla ·
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    ABSTRACT: A process for the production of l-amino-acids concentrates from microalgae biomass by enzymatic hydrolysis has been developed. The process includes pre-treatment for cell-disruption, enzymatic hydrolysis and final separation by centrifugation. Thermal and mechanical cell-disruption methods have been tested, selecting mechanical disruption using bead milling for 30 min. The enzymatic hydrolysis was done using the commercial enzymes Alcalase and Flavourzyme. Maximum hydrolysis was obtained for biomass concentrations under 270 g/l and previous additional treatment with Viscozyme, reaching a 42% hydrolysis. Repeated reaction steps increased the hydrolysis from 42% (4h) with a single step to 59% (8h) after two successive steps. Further increase of the number of steps had a meagre impact on the global yield. The process widens the portfolio of products that can be obtained from microalgae biomass and is a new possibility to enhance the economic viability of microalgae-based biofuels production processes.
    Bioresource Technology 02/2012; 112:164-70. DOI:10.1016/j.biortech.2012.02.094 · 4.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on modelling the growth rate and exopolysaccharides production of Anabaena sp. ATCC 33047, to be used in carbon dioxide removal and biofuels production. For this, the influence of dilution rate, irradiance and aeration rate on the biomass and exopolysaccharides productivity, as well as on the CO(2) fixation rate, have been studied. The productivity of the cultures was maximum at the highest irradiance and dilution rate assayed, resulting to 0.5 g(bio) l(-1) day(-1) and 0.2 g(eps) l(-1) day(-1), and the CO(2) fixation rate measured was 1.0 gCO(2) l(-1) day(-1). The results showed that although Anabaena sp. was partially photo-inhibited at irradiances higher than 1,300 μE m(-2) s(-1), its growth rate increases hyperbolically with the average irradiance inside the culture, and so does the specific exopolysaccharides production rate. The latter, on the other hand, decreases under high external irradiances, indicating that the exopolysaccharides metabolism hindered by photo-damage. Mathematical models that consider these phenomena have been proposed. Regarding aeration, the yield of the cultures decreased at rates over 0.5 v/v/min or when shear rates were higher than 60 s(-1), demonstrating the existence of thus existence of stress damage by aeration. The behaviour of the cultures has been verified outdoors in a pilot-scale airlift tubular photobioreactor. From this study it is concluded that Anabaena sp. is highly recommended to transform CO(2) into valuable products as has been proved capable of metabolizing carbon dioxide at rates of 1.2 gCO(2) l(-1) day(-1) outdoors. The adequacy of the proposed equations is demonstrated, resulting to a useful tool in the design and operation of photobioreactors using this strain.
    Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 02/2012; 94(3):613-24. DOI:10.1007/s00253-011-3683-7 · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: AbstractA new methodology to use efficiently flue gases as CO2 source in the production of photosynthetic microorganisms is proposed. The CO2 is absorbed in an aqueous phase that is then regenerated by microalgae. Carbonated solutions could absorb up to 80% of the CO2 from diluted gas reaching total inorganic carbon (TIC) concentrations up to 2.0 g/L. The pH of the solution was maintained at 8.0–10.0 by the bicarbonate/carbonate buffer, so it is compatible with biological regeneration. The absorption process was modeled and the kinetic parameters were determined. Anabaena sp. demonstrated to tolerate pH (8.0–10.0) and TIC (up to 2.0 g/L) conditions imposed by the absorption step. Experiments of regeneration of the liquid phase demonstrated the feasibility of the overall process, converting CO2 into organic matter. The developed process avoids heating to regenerate the liquid whereas maximizing the efficiency of CO2 use, which is relevant to achieve the commercial production of biofuels from microalgae. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2012; 109:1637–1650. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Biotechnology and Bioengineering 01/2012; 109(7). · 4.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Scenedesmus almeriensis is a fast-growing highly productive new strain and is also a good producer of lutein.The aim of this study was to determine the influences of pressure and temperature on the supercritical fluid extraction of lutein and β-carotene from a freeze-dried powder of the marine microalga, S. almeriensis. The operating conditions were as follows: pressure in the range 200–600bar and temperatures between 32 and 60°C. The extracts were analysed by HPLC. Empirical correlations were also developed.The results demonstrate that it is necessary to work at a pressure of 400bar and a temperature of 60°C to obtain a significant yield in the extraction of pigments. In comparison with the reference extraction process used, the results show that better yields are obtained in the extraction of β-carotene; it is possible to extract 50% of the total of this pigment contained in the microalga studied.
    Food Chemistry 12/2010; 123(3):928-935. DOI:10.1016/j.foodchem.2010.04.076 · 3.39 Impact Factor
  • Celeste Brindley · F G Acién Fernández · J M Fernández-Sevilla ·
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    ABSTRACT: Maximum photobioreactor (PBR) efficiency is a must in applications such as the obtention of microalgae-derived fuels. Improving PBR performance requires a better understanding of the "light regime", the varying irradiance that microalgal cells moving in a dense culture are exposed to. We propose a definition of light regime that can be used consistently to describe the continuously varying light patterns in PBRs as well as in light/dark cycles. Equivalent continuous and light/dark regimes have been experimentally compared and the results show that continuous variations are not well represented by light/dark cycles, as had been widely accepted. It has been shown that a correct light regime allows obtaining photosynthetic rates higher than the corresponding to continuous light, the so-called "flashing light effect" and that this is possible in commercial PBRs. A correct PBR operation could result in photosynthetic efficiency close to the optimum eight quanta per O(2).
    Bioresource Technology 10/2010; 102(3):3138-48. DOI:10.1016/j.biortech.2010.10.088 · 4.49 Impact Factor
  • José M Fernández-Sevilla · F G Acién Fernández · E Molina Grima ·
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    ABSTRACT: Lutein is an antioxidant that has gathered increasing attention due to its potential role in preventing or ameliorating age-related macular degeneration. Currently, it is produced from marigold oleoresin, but continuous reports of lutein-producing microalgae pose the question if those microorganisms can become an alternative source. Several microalgae have higher lutein contents than most marigold cultivars and have been shown to yield productivities hundreds of times higher than marigold crops on a per square meter basis. Microalgae and marigold are opposite alternatives in the use of resources such as land and labor and the prevalence of one or the other could change in the future as the lutein demand rises and if labor or land becomes more restricted or expensive in the producing countries. The potential of microalgae as a lutein source is analyzed and compared to marigold. It is suggested that, in the current state of the art, microalgae could compete with marigold even without counting on any of the improvements in microalgal technology that can be expected in the near future.
    Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 03/2010; 86(1):27-40. DOI:10.1007/s00253-009-2420-y · 3.34 Impact Factor

  • New Biotechnology 09/2009; 25. DOI:10.1016/j.nbt.2009.06.592 · 2.90 Impact Factor

  • New Biotechnology 09/2009; 25. DOI:10.1016/j.nbt.2009.06.590 · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper the utilization of the cyanobacteria Anabaena sp. in carbon dioxide removal processes is evaluated. For this, continuous cultures of this strain were performed at different dilution rates; alternatives for the recovery of the organic matter produced being also studied. A maximum CO(2) fixation rate of 1.45 g CO(2) L(-1) day(-1) was measured experimentally, but it can be increased up to 3.0 g CO(2) L(-1) day(-1) outdoors. The CO(2) is mainly transformed into exopolysaccharides, biomass representing one third of the total organic matter produced. Organic matter can be recovered by sedimentation with efficiencies higher than 90%, the velocity of sedimentation being 2.10(-4) s(-1). The major compounds were carbohydrates and proteins with productivities of 0.70 and 0.12 g L(-1) day(-1), respectively. The behaviour of the cultures of Anabaena sp. has been modelized, also the characteristics parameters requested to design separation units being reported. Finally, to valorizate the organic matter as biofertilizers and biofuels is proposed.
    Bioresource Technology 08/2009; 100(23):5904-10. DOI:10.1016/j.biortech.2009.04.070 · 4.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial growth on mixed substrates is employed for wastewater treatment. Biodegradation kinetics of Pseudomonas putida CECT 324 growth on formic acid, vanillin, phenol and oxalic acid mixtures is described. The experiments were carried out in a stirred-tank fermentor in batch mode at different temperatures (25, 30 and 35 degrees C) and pH (5, 6 and 7). The four compounds selected are typical intermediates in pesticide-contaminated water treated by advanced oxidation processes (AOPs). The toxicity of intermediates was investigated for a combined AOP-biological treatment, and the minimum DOC inhibitory concentration of the intermediate mixture was 175 ppm. The resulting biodegradation and growth kinetics were best described by the sum kinetics with interaction parameters (SKIP) model. Phenol and oxalic acid inhibit P. putida growth, and formic acid consumption strongly affects the biodegradation of oxalic acid. At all the temperatures tested and at pH between 5 and 7, P. putida CECT 324 was able to degrade the four substrates after culture times of 30 h at 30 degrees C and pH 7, which were the best conditions, and after 70 h, under the worst, at 35 degrees C.
    Journal of Hazardous Materials 04/2008; 151(2-3):780-8. DOI:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2007.06.053 · 4.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Biodegradability of a partially photo-oxidized pesticide mixture is demonstrated and the effect of photo-Fenton treatment time on growth and substrate consumption of the bacteria Pseudomonas putida CECT 324 is shown. Four commercial pesticides, laition, metasystox, sevnol and ultracid, usually employed in citric orchards in eastern Spain, were chosen for these experiments. The active ingredients are, respectively, dimethoate, oxydemeton-methyl, carbaryl and methidathion. Judging by biomass measurements, dissolved organic carbon measurements and biodegradation efficiency, it may be concluded that 90min<t(30W)<110min is the critical point for the photo-Fenton treatment. P. putida is sensitive to photo-produced intermediates giving rise to different kinetic behaviour: longer lag phases, slower growth rates and lower carbon uptake rates. Nonetheless, the percentage of carbon consumption was over 80%, pointing out the biodegradability of the mixture. Biodegradation efficiencies (E(f)) of the photo-reaction intermediates were around 60%, in small 50-ml cultures and in a 12-l bubble column bioreactor. But with the main difference that E(f) in the former took 120h and the same biodegradation was reached in less than 30h in the latter. Therefore, for qualitative results, experiments in flasks might be recommendable, but not for quantitative results for designing purposes.
    Chemosphere 03/2008; 70(8):1476-83. DOI:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2007.08.027 · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study outlines a process for the cost-effective production of 13C/15N-labelled biomass of microalgae on a commercial scale. The core of the process is a bubble column photobioreactor with exhaust gas recirculation by means of a low-pressure compressor. To avoid accumulation of dissolved oxygen in the culture, the exhaust gas is bubbled through a sodium sulphite solution prior to its return to the reactor. The engineered system can be used for the production of 13C, 15N, and 13C-15N stable isotope-labelled biomass as required. To produce 13C-labelled biomass, 13CO2 is injected on demand for pH control and carbon supply, whereas for 15N-labelled biomass Na15NO3 is supplied as nitrogen source at the stochiometric concentration. The reactor is operated in semicontinuous mode at different biomass concentrations, yielding a maximum mean biomass productivity of 0.3 gL(-1) day(-1). In order to maximize the uptake efficiency of the labelled substrates, the inorganic carbon is recovered from the supernatant by acidification/desorption processes, while the nitrate is delivered at stochiometric concentration and the harvesting of biomass is performed when the 15NO3- is depleted. In these conditions, elemental analysis of both biomass and supernatant shows that 89.2% of the injected carbon is assimilated into the biomass and 6.9% remains in the supernatant. Based on elemental analysis, 97.8% of the supplied nitrogen is assimilated into the biomass and 1.3% remains in the supernatant. Stable isotope-labelling enrichment has been analysed by GC-MS results showing that the biomass is highly labelled. All the fatty acids are labelled; more than 96% of the carbon present in these fatty acids is 13C. The engineered system was stably operated for 3 months, producing over 160 g of 13C and/or 15N-labelled biomass. The engineered bioreactor can be applied for the labelling of various microalgae.
    Biomolecular Engineering 01/2006; 22(5-6):193-200. DOI:10.1016/j.bioeng.2005.09.002 · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The optimization of carbon use in pilot-scale outdoor tubular photobioreactors is investigated in this study. The behavior of a 0.20-m(3) tubular photobioreactor was studied, with and without algae, by steady-state and pulse dynamic-response analysis experiments. A model of the system was obtained and implemented in a programmable control unit and was used to control the reactor under normal production conditions. Results showed that, using and on-off control, the mean daily CO(2) flow in the reactor was 0.86 g min(-1), 19.7% of this being lost. By using a predictive control algorithm the mean daily CO(2) flow was reduced to 0.74 g min(-1), with losses being reduced to 15.6%. In this case, pH tracking was not adequate, especially at the beginning and end of the daylight period, because the variation in solar irradiance was not considered. Taking solar irradiance into account resulted in better performance, with mean daily CO(2) flow reduced to 0.70 g min(-1), and carbon losses reduced to 5.5%. pH tracking was improved and valve actuation was reduced. Improvement of pH control reduced pH gradients in the culture, which increased the photosynthesis rate and biomass productivity of the system. Biomass productivity increased from 1.28 to 1.48 g L(-1) day-(1) when on-off control was replaced by model-based predictive control plus solar irradiance effect mode. Implementation of this methodology in outdoor photobioreactors can increase productivity by 15% and reduce the cost of producing biomass by >6%. Clearly, application of effective control techniques, such as model-based predictive control (MPC), must be considered when developing these processes.
    Biotechnology and Bioengineering 12/2003; 84(5):533-43. DOI:10.1002/bit.10819 · 4.13 Impact Factor
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    E Molina Grima · E-H Belarbi · F G Acién Fernández · A Robles Medina · Yusuf Chisti ·
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    ABSTRACT: Commercial production of intracellular microalgal metabolites requires the following: (1) large-scale monoseptic production of the appropriate microalgal biomass; (2) recovery of the biomass from a relatively dilute broth; (3) extraction of the metabolite from the biomass; and (4) purification of the crude extract. This review examines the options available for recovery of the biomass and the intracellular metabolites from the biomass. Economics of monoseptic production of microalgae in photobioreactors and the downstream recovery of metabolites are discussed using eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) recovery as a representative case study.
    Biotechnology Advances 02/2003; 20(7-8):491-515. DOI:10.1016/S0734-9750(02)00050-2 · 9.02 Impact Factor
  • C. Lu · F.G. Acién Fernández · E. Cañizares Guerrero · D.O. Hall · E. Molina Grima ·
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    ABSTRACT: The outdoor production of Monodus subterraneus wasstudied in bubble column and helical reactors, mainly analysing the influenceofdilution rate, air flow rate and solar irradiance on growth rate andbiochemicalcomposition. Photoinhibition and photo-oxidation phenomena were also analysed.The cultures were stressed at high solar irradiance and dissolved oxygenconcentrations. A clear relationship between stress of the cultures and thefluorescence from PSII measurements was observed, the Fv/Fm ratio being lowerinthe helical reactor than in the bubble column. Growth rate and biomassproductivity were both a function of the average irradiance and the Fv/Fmratio;maximum values of 0.040 h–1 and 0.54 gL–1 d–1 were measured. The influenceofphotoinhibition and average irradiance was modelled, the model also fitting theexperimental data reported by another author. The chlorophyll contenthyperbolically decreased, whereas the carotenoid content decreased linearlywiththe average irradiance. The higher the dilution rate the higher the protein andcarbohydrate content of the biomass, and the lower the lipid content. Theeicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) content ranged from 2.3 to 3.2% d.wt, the higherthe dilution rate, the lower EPA content, although the higher the EPAproportion. Maximum EPA productivity was only 9 mg L–1d–1, due to the stress to which the cultures wereexposed.
    Journal of Applied Phycology 09/2002; 14(5):331-342. DOI:10.1023/A:1022198428274 · 2.56 Impact Factor
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    R Bermejo Román · J.M. Alvárez-Pez · F.G. Acién Fernández · E Molina Grima ·
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    ABSTRACT: Phycoerythrin is a major light-harvesting pigment of red algae and cyanobacteria that is widely used as a fluorescent probe and analytical reagent. In this paper, B-phycoerythrin and R-phycocyanin in native state, from the red alga Porphyridium cruentum were obtained by an inexpensive and simple process. The best results of this purification procedure were scaled up by a factor of 13 to a large preparative level using an anionic chromatographic column of DEAE cellulose. Gradient elution with acetic acid-sodium acetate buffer (pH 5.5) was used. In these conditions both 32% of B-phycoerythrin and 12% of R-phycocyanin contained in the biomass of the microalgae was recovered. B-phycoerythrin was homogeneous as determined by sodium dodecyl sulfate-poly-acrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), yielding three migrating bands corresponding to its three subunits, consistent with the (alpha beta)(6)gamma subunit composition characteristic of this biliprotein and the spectroscopic characterization of B-PE (UV-visible absorption and emission spectroscopy; steady-state and polarization fluorescence), is accompanied. Finally, a preliminary cost analysis of the recovery process is presented.
    Journal of Biotechnology 02/2002; 93(1):73-85. DOI:10.1016/S0168-1656(01)00385-6 · 2.87 Impact Factor
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    Molina EM · F.G. Acién Fernández · F.G. Garcia Camacho · F. Camacho Rubio · Y. Chisti ·
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of the light/dark cycle frequency on theproductivity of algal culture at differentday-averaged irradiance conditions was evaluated forPhaeodactylum tricornutum grown in outdoortubular photobioreactors. The photobioreactor scale-upproblem was analyzed by establishing the frequency oflight–dark cycling of cells and ensuring that thecycle frequency remained unchanged on scale-up. Thehydrodynamics and geometry related factors wereidentified for assuring an unchanged light/dark cycle.The light/dark cycle time in two different tubularphotobioreactors was shown to be identical when thelinear culture velocity in the large scale device(U LL) and that in the small scale unit (>U LS)were related as follows:ULL = \frac f 9/7 \alpha8/7 ULS.Here f is the scale factor (i.e., the ratio oflarge-to-small tube diameters), is afunction of the illuminated volumes in the tworeactors, and `dark' refers to any zone of the reactorwhere the light intensity is less than the saturationvalue. The above equation was tested in continuouscultures of P. tricornutum in reactors with 0.03 mand 0.06 m diameter tubes, and over the workableculture velocity range of 0.23 to 0.50 m s-1. Thepredicted maximum realistic photobioreactor tubediameter was about 0.10 m for assuring a cultureperformance identical to that in reactors with smaller tubes.
    Journal of Applied Phycology 09/2000; 12(3):355-368. DOI:10.1023/A:1008110819338 · 2.56 Impact Factor