ICM-CSIC visits Universidad de Almería (UAL) facilities

 

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On November the 24th, a team from the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC) in Barcelona (Spain) visited the facilities of University of Almería (UAL) in Almería (Spain), where the experimental facilities for microalgal cultivation are located.

Figure 1. ICM-CSIC team upon their arrival in Almería

Two different raceway ponds, fed with wastewater and fertilizers (Fig. 2), have been sampled three times per week for the last 9 months. Samples are sent periodically to ICM-CSIC for specific chemical and molecular analyses. Researchers from both institutions discussed all the practicalities about the raceways design, functioning, algal community sampling and limitations inherent to the technology in order to optimize samplings and produce high quality datasets. The visit was very fruitful for both teams and PRODIGIO project will benefit from the exchange of knowledge from researchers with such diverse range of scientific backgrounds, from bioprocess engineering to theoretical ecology.

Figure 2. Outdoor raceways

During the second day of the visit, a meeting was held to design the new experiments that will take place from January onwards.

      Figure 3. Meeting held at UAL on the 25th of November

The experiments will be carried out in bench-scale raceways where PH, light and temperature are strictly controlled and sampling can be done at a relatively high frequency.

Figure 4. Indoor raceways

Stepwise increases in temperature and acidity will be forced over time (simulating gradual warming and acidification) in two of the raceways while the others will be held unchanged. The experiments are intended to force and monitor the eventual collapse of the algal biomass production systems. The data generated will serve to understand the mechanisms underlying the failure of the systems and design early-warning signals to anticipate and mitigate these crashes.

 

This article has been written by Carmen García Comas, ICM-CSIC.

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