BACKGROUND: The polysaccharides of Spirulina platensis possess many biological functions. Reproducing the conditions under which S. platensis produces polysaccharides is critical to furthering our understanding of the function of these polysaccharides for commercial mass production. The changes in microalgal polysaccharide production were studied under greenhouse and laboratory conditions using varying light intensities, temperatures, and NaCl concentrations.
RESULTS: The polysaccharide yield was positively correlated with culturing under 192 µmol photons m−2 s−1 light intensity at 38 °C or in 0.75 mol L−1 NaCl. However, NaCl reduced the total biomass productivity of S. platensis. To mitigate the negative effects of environmental stress on maximal polysaccharide production, we proposed a two-stage culture method. The first stage, designed to increase biomass production, involved culturing under 96 µmol photons m−2 s−1 light intensity at 28 °C. Following this, on achieving maximum biomass production, the second stage, designed to stimulate polysaccharide production, involved culturing under 192 µmol photons m−2 s−1 light intensity at 38 °C for 3 days or in a 0.75 mol L−1 NaCl medium for 2 days. High-performance liquid chromatographic analysis revealed that S. platensis polysaccharides were composed of various monosaccharides, including glucose, galactose, rhamnose, mannose, fructose, and mannitol.
CONCLUSION: The two-stage culture can be successfully applied to achieve the goal of polysaccharide mass production. The first stage focuses on rapidly increasing microalgal biomass. The second stage of culture conditions requires modification to maximize polysaccharide yield. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry