Hydrocarbon productivities in different Botryococcus strains: Comparative methods in product quantification
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Six different strains of the green microalgae Botryococcus belonging to the A-race or B-race, accumulating alkadiene or botryococcene hydrocarbons, respectively, were compared for biomass and hydrocarbon productivities. Biomass productivity was assessed gravimetrically upon strain growth in the laboratory under defined conditions. Hydrocarbon productivities were measured by three different and independent experimental approaches, including density equilibrium of the intact cells and micro-colonies, spectrophotometric analysis of hydrocarbon extracts, and gravimetric quantitation of eluted hydrocarbons. All three hydrocarbon-quantitation methods yielded similar results for each of the strains examined. The B-race microalgae Botryococcus braunii var. Showa and Kawaguchi-1 constitutively accumulated botryococcene hydrocarbons equivalent to 30% and 20%, respectively, of their overall biomass. The A-race microalgae Botryococcus braunii, varieties Yamanaka, UTEX 2441 and UTEX LB572 constitutively accumulated alkadiene hydrocarbons ranging from 14% to 13% and 10% of their overall biomass, respectively. Botryococcus sudeticus (UTEX 2629), a morphologically different green microalga, had the lowest hydrocarbon accumulation, equal to about 3% of its overall biomass. Results validate the density equilibrium and spectrophotometric analysis methods in the quantitation of botryococcene-type hydrocarbons. These analytical advances will serve in the screening and selection of B. braunii and of other microalgae in efforts to identify those having a high hydrocarbon content for use in commercial applications. © 2010 The Author(s).
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