Cultivating microalgae can sometimes be complicated : choosing the right cultivation system (photobioreactor, raceway, green panels…), finding the right parameters or selecting the microalgal best suited for your needs… All these elements are essential to obtain qualitative and quantitative results.

However, no matter what the cultivation system chosen or the microalgae, it is important to give a regulated and suitable access to light. In this article, Lucy explains the importance of light for the microalgae’s growth.


Light, the first limiting factor in microalgae cultivation

Microalgae are autotrophic organism, it means they develop thanks to photosynthesis.

For that mechanism to work, certain conditions need to be respected, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H20) and light. This combination will allow the chloroplasts to convert those elements in energy in the form of carb which is necessary for the microalgae’s development.

Several elements are to be considered to control light:  

  • Irradiance: the regulation of light intensity is particularly important, not giving enough light will slow down their development. And on the other hand, a cell receiving too much light will be photoinhibited.
  • Cycles: some microalgae need more light than other. Their development will be link to the seasonality.
    Using an artificial light can be a good way to avoid or regulate the nychthemeral rhythm (day/night) and to bring a continuous luminous source with an adapted spectrum.  
  • The luminous spectrum: it characterizes the wavelength emitted by the light. Depending on the microalgae, spectrum can be adapted to optimize their growth.
  • Constant light: for a good development, there must not be any chopping frequency.
  • Access to light: cells must be able to obtain light in a homogenous way. Microalgae have a tendency of self-shadowing and thus restraining their access to light. To overcome it, it is necessary to have a good agitation and hydrodynamic.

If you wish to increase your productivities, do not hesitate to take an interest in our LED light bars that regulate the luminosity so the microalgae can complete their photosynthesis at the proper irradiance level.

Light isn’t the only factor to consider in microalgae growth: metering of the nutrients, agitation, pH is a non-exhaustive list of important parameters to cultivate microalgae.

See you soon for a new edition on tips and tricks on microalgae cultivation.