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Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Ching-An Peng


The microalga Haematococcus pluvialis was cultivated in MES-volvox medium at various light intensities and CO2 concentrations. It was found that CO2 concentrations of 10 and 15%, in combination with high irradiance at initial pH =6.7, accelerate astaxanthin accumulation in H. pluvialis cells but obstruct cell growth. The purpose of this research study was to devise a one-stage process consisting of the simultaneous cultivation of H. pluvialis and astaxanthin production using high light intensity and high CO2 concentration. This could be achieved at 200 µE/m2s and 15% CO2 in growth medium at initial pH = 4.3. Compared to the traditional two-stage H. pluvialis cultivation system, this one-step process can save up to 8-9 days of astaxanthin production time. The astaxanthin content in H. pluvialis cells induced with high light intensity only or with a combination of high light intensity and high CO2 concentration had comparable astaxanthin content; 94 and 97 mg/g dry biomass, respectively. However, it was extremely low in nitrate-free medium at high irradiance alone or combined with high CO2 concentration, with an average value of 4 mg/g dry biomass. Cell density was 40% less in cultures under discontinuous illumination compared to continuous illumination. This process could serve as a microalgal CO2 mitigation system after further understanding of the CO2 fixation ability of H. pluvialis has been gained.