Phototrophic production of bioproducts with microalgae

(M.Sc. Anna-Lena Thurn)

The use of sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce bioproducts with the help of microalgae is considered a promising possibility for the production of CO2-neutral products. Under suitable conditions, microalgae can synthesize value adding materials such as antioxidants, special fatty acids, vitamins, pigments and protein complexes.

The objective of this research project is the comparative reaction engineering characterization of selected microalgae and the identification of suitable conditions for the efficient production of these value adding materials from CO2 and sunlight.

For the reaction engineering analysis of new microalgae, parallel-operated, closed flat-plate gas-lift photobioreactors with LED illumination are used under physical simulation of suitable dynamic climatic conditions. Here, defined reaction conditions can be assured and their effects on growth and product formation of the microalgae studied can be investigated in a reproducible manner.

The process data obtained here will be used to select particularly suitable microalgal strains for scale-up into easily scalable, open, thin-layer cascade photobioreactors with a photosynthetically active surface area of 8 - 50 m2 where suitable dynamic climatic conditions (light, temperature and humidity) can also be physically simulated in the TUM-AlgaeTecCenter.


  • Thurn AL, Schobel J, Weuster-Botz D (2024): Photoautotrophic production of docosahexaenoic acid- and eicosapentaenoic acid-enriched biomass by co-culturing golden-brown and green microalgae. Fermentation 10: 220.
  • Thurn A-L, Gerwald S, Stock A, Weuster-Botz D (2022): Simultaneous photoautotrophic production of EPA and DHA with Microchloropsis salina and Tisochyrsis lutea in co-culture. Biores Bioproc 9: 130.
  • Schädler T, Thurn A-L, Brück T, Weuster-Botz D (2021): Continuous production of lipids with Microchloropsis salina in open thin-layer cascade photobioreactors on a pilot scale. Energies 14: 500.