Tuesday, February 25, 2014

25/02/14: Marine laboratory introduces elegant microalgal ‘bubble column’

Plymouth Marine Laboratory has introduced
an elegant new microalgal ‘bubble column’
Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK, well known for its environmental research, has expanded its interests into commercial algal biomass production; but it’s not the algae they are selling but the means to grow them.

After 30 years of growing microalgae for research purposes, PML is now utilising this knowledge and expertise to provide solutions to the wider community. The first product out of the laboratory and onto the production line is a bubble column-style photobioreactor for growing microalgae.

“We designed and built half a dozen of these units as tools for our personal use on research contracts we were undertaking” says Mike Allen, Senior Scientist at PML. “The only problem was, when we showed visitors around the lab they kept wanting to buy them off us!”

The demand for the in-house built photobioreactors from visitors was difficult to ignore, and following a redesign to make the reactors look like a professional product, the commercial arm of PML - PML Applications - is now about to officially start selling their bubble column range.
Already, prior to the official launch, units have been sold to customers in Europe, America and Western Asia working in the fields of aquaculture, academia and engineering.

Elegance of design

The newly launched range offers laboratory grade, vertical column photobioreactors capable of growing different strains of algae for research, aquaculture and education purposes with a focus on biomass quality, reliability and elegance of design.

Stand-alone, wall-mounted or hanging units grow microalgae under controlled agitation and are designed to ensure that all the user needs to do is throw in their growth media and algae of choice, plug them in and they are good to go.

To date, the bubble columns have successfully grown freshwater, brackish and saltwater strains (natural and genetically modified) including:
•    Nannochloropsis salina
•    Nannochloropsis oculata
•    Tetraselmis suecica
•    Tetraselmis chuii
•    Isochrysis galbana
•    Thalassiosira pseudonana
•    Phaeodactylum tricornutum
•    Emiliania huxleyi
•    Chlorella salina
•    Chlorella vulgaris
•    Chlorella sorokiniana
•    Dunaliella salina
•    Ostreococcus tauri
•    Botryococcus braunii
•    Rhinomonas reticulate
•    Pavlova lutheri
•    Arthrospira platensis

They have all been grown to cell densities well over 107 cells per ml.
Whole culture harvesting is achieved through a tap at the bottom, while smaller volumes for quality control monitoring can be drawn off from the middle of the column.

Sizes supplied
Typical sizes supplied already include three, six, 10 and 15 litre columns, with bespoke sizes and volumes available.

The systems are based around a robust polycarbonate tube with anodised aluminium components available in a variety of colours such as light blue, dark blue, pink, purple, green, orange, gold, black, silver and red; a feature particularly useful if you are looking to combine function with a visually striking display system which matches your company logo and colours.

Designed by algae experts for algae growers of all abilities, interests and purposes the PML built bubble column photobioreactor offers a cost effective and elegant solution to your microalgae culturing needs.

Visit the Plymouth Marine Laboratory website here.

Check out in the coming weeks for more details!

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