Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 28  December 2016 p.  496-509
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21894/jopr.2016.2804.11

CHLORELLA BIOMASS PRODUCTION IN ANNULAR PHOTOBIOREACTOR USING PALM OIL MILL EFFLUENT (POME): EFFECT OF HYDRODYNAMICS AND MASS TRANSFER, IRRADIANCE, AERATION RATE AND POME CONCENTRATION

Author(s): CHENG-YAU TAN*; NIK MERIAM NIK SULAIMAN*; SOH KHEANG LOH** and SIEW-MOI PHANG‡

Palm oil mill efflu­ent (POME) was used to cul­ture Chlorella vul­garis UMACC001 in 5-litre, arti­fi­cially illu­mi­nated air­lift annu­lar pho­to­biore­ac­tors. Hydro­dy­namic and mass trans­fer char­ac­ter­is­tics were inves­ti­gated for sparg­ers per­fo­rated with dif­fer­ent pore diam­e­ters. Max­i­mum vol­u­met­ric mass trans­fer coef­fi­cient and gas hold-up were achieved using sparger with 1 mm pores. The sparger was later used in the three-factor growth stud­ies, i.e. irra­di­ance, aer­a­tion rate and POME con­cen­tra­tion, des­ig­nated using five– level cen­tral com­pos­ite design. Results showed the chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) con­tent and spe­cific growth rate (μ) ranged from 0.26 to 25.40 mg litre-1 and 0 to 1.033 per day, respec­tively. The response sur­face model con­cluded that increas­ing irra­di­ance while main­tain­ing the aer­a­tion rate and POME con­cen­tra­tion indi­cates the light remained the lim­it­ing fac­tor dur­ing exper­i­men­ta­tion. POME con­cen­tra­tion and irra­di­ance were found to sig­nif­i­cantly affect the Chl-a pro­duc­tion, whereas the aer­a­tion rate was respon­si­ble for the μ. The opti­mised bio­mass con­tained 22.0 wt% of lipid, of which 57.0% of the fatty acids was sat­u­rated, 26.9% monoun­sat­u­rated and 16.1% polyun­sat­u­rated. The pre­dom­i­nant com­po­nents, i.e. palmitic acid (C16:0), myris­tic acid (C14:0), stearic acid (C18:0) and eruric acid (C22:1) indi­cated that the bio­mass is a suit­able feed­stock for biodiesel production.

Keywords: , , , ,

Author Information
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board, 6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia. E-mail:


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