Microalgae, including cyanobacteria, represent a valuable source of natural compounds that have remarkable bioactive properties. Each microalga species produces a mixture of antioxidants with different amounts of each compound. Three aspects are important in the production of bioactive compounds: the microalga species, the medium composition including light supplied and the photobioreactor design, and operation characteristics. In this study, the antioxidant content and productivity performance of four microalgae were assessed in batch and continuous cultures. Biomass productivity by the four microalgae was substantially enhanced under continuous cultivation by 5.9 to 6.3 times in comparison with batch cultures. The energetic yield, under the experimental conditions studied, ranged from 0.03 to 0.041 g biomass kJ−1. Phenols, terpenoids, and alkaloids were produced by Spirulina platensis, Isochrysis galbana, and Tetraselmis suecica, whereas tocopherols and carotenoids were produced by the four microalgae, except for phycocyanin and allophycocyanin, which were only produced by S. platensis and Porphyridium cruentum. The findings demonstrate that the continuous cultivation of microalgae in photobioreactors is a convenient method of efficiently producing antioxidants.
- Continuous cultivation