Time-separated wavelength tuning for high yield phototrophic growth

This project has two goals:
1. Proof of concept that increased algae productivity can be obtained with the wavelength selected pulsed LED lighting in comparison to the same flux of continuous light;
2. Determination of non-photochemical quenching and photo damage in pulsed LED light.

The project is meant to improve biomass production with 10 to 30%. When results are positive this technology may work also for higher plants. LED technology is in the process to be embraced by the horticulture industry due to its multiple benefits. A novel benefit suggested here is to better tune the light on/off frequency and pulse duration to the ‘fast and the slow’ phases of photosynthetic electron transfer using on/off modulated and photosystem specific light.

The research connects to earlier research by the University of Amsterdam (Matthijs et al. 1996) where was shown that using LED sources providing light as on/off pulses proved as effective as continuous light, with dark periods between pulses extending up to 90% of the time. This is of great importance for the industry; first of all to the horticulture industry and also to the suppliers of lighting equipment. Philips Electronics Nederland BV through its affiliate Philips Lighting BV supports this proposal in-kind as well as financially which shows their serious interest in the potential of the technology.

Research will be done with the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803. The choice for this ‘micro alga’ warrants optimal access to the research challenge and connects well to existing experience at UvA. Microalgae are used as a representative model for photosynthesis processes in plants since the early days of discoveries in oxygenic photosynthesis research. We will focus in this proof of concept study on how photosystem 1 and 2 excitation can be spaced in time to optimally sustain growth.

The research in this project is done by the Department of Aquatic Microbiology of the University of Amsterdam, in co-operation with the Molecular & Physiological Microbiology Department of the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam. Philips Electronics Nederland BV through its affiliate Philips Lighting BV supports this project in-kind as well as financially which shows their serious interest in the potential of the technology.

 

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