Characterization of the photic zone and light penetration depth in cultures with ultrahigh cell densities represents a major issue in mass cultures of phytoautotrophic microorganisms grown in enclosed photobioreactors. In a study of the effect of underwater optical properties on the penetration depth of photosynthetically active radiation, the inherent optical properties of algal suspensions, i.e., absorption and scattering coefficients, as well as their apparent optical properties, i.e., the reflectance and the vertical attenuation coefficient of downwelling irradiance, were determined by using high-spectral-resolution radiometric measurements. The vertical attenuation coefficient was used to estimate quantitatively the depth of light penetration into a reactor containing an ultrahigh cell density (chlorophyll concentration, up to 300,000 mg m-3). For such a high cell density, the photic volume in the reactor was found to be extremely small; nevertheless, it differed between the blue and red light (less than 0.06 mm) and the green light (about 0.5 mm). This suggests a singular role for green light under the unique circumstances existing in ultrahigh-cell-density cultures of photoautotrophs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology