Abundance and diversity of microalgae in freshwater eutrophic systems of Namibia and optimization of lipid and biomass production in Nannochloropsis Limnetica select="/dri:document/dri:meta/dri:pageMeta/dri:metadata[@element='title']/node()"/>

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dc.contributor.author Garus-Oas, Carol H.
dc.date.accessioned 2017-07-14T14:15:06Z
dc.date.available 2017-07-14T14:15:06Z
dc.date.issued 2017
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11070/2029
dc.description Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Science (Biology) en_US
dc.description.abstract Namibia is one of the driest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and man-made dams play an important role on salvaging water. These dams are however periodically frequented by microalgae blooms that pose devastating effects on the water quality, making water treatment processes troublesome and cost prohibitive. However, these unicellular organisms can be exploited in various ways especially when cultivated in controlled and closed systems under optimal conditions of light, temperature, pH and nutrient concentrations. Biomass can be optimized to produce proteins that can be a source of fertilizers, while lipids can be extracted to refine into various hydrocarbons such as biodiesel and bioethanol. It is therefore essential to study the dynamics of these microalgae and provide necessary guidelines on how to utilize them. The first objective of the current study was to assess the seasonal relative genera abundance, diversity, richness and eveness of microalgae in three fresh water eutrophic systems in central Namibia. The hypothesis was to seek whether there is no significant difference in the seasonal relative genera abundance of microalgae per dam in three freshwater eutrophic systems of Namibia namely, Goreangab dam, Von Bach dam and Swakoppoort dam. Microalgae were enumerated with the use of a haemocytometer and identified to genus level during the dry and the wet seasons. Environmental parameters such as turbidity, pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, macronutrients (i.e. phosphates, nitrates and ammonia) and dam water volumes, were also measured during this time to assess how they are correlated to the relative genera abundance per dam. All statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS software package (IBM statistics Version 23) and differences in data were considered significant at p < 0.05. The Shannon-Weiner diversity index was applied to calculate the microalgae diversity per dam. Evenness Index (J’) and Margalef’s Index (d) was used to calculate the species evenness and species richness, respectively per dam. Results revealed that seasonal relative genera abundance was not normally distributed (p = 0.000) per dam. Von Bach dam seasonal relative genera abundance was statistically not significant (p = 1.000). Goreangab dam seasonal relative genera abundance was statistically not significant (p = 0.652) and Swakoppoort dam relative genera abundance was statistically not significant (p = 0.444). Data presentation of relative genera abundance showed Chlorophyceae as the most dominant class followed by Cyanophycea for Swakoppoort and Von Bach dams for both seasons. Chlorophyceae was the most abundant microalgae class in Goreangab dam during the dry season, while Florideophyceae and Cyanophycea were the second most abundant classes during the wet season. Microcystis was the most abundant genus for Swakoppoort and Goreangab dams during dry and wet seasons. However, in Von Bach dam Aulacoseira was the most abundant microalgae. The Shannon-Weiner diversity index showed that Von Bach dam had the highest diversity of 3.21 followed by Goreangab dam (2.32) and the lowest diversity was found in Swakoppoort dam (2.13). Species evenness varied between 0.46 - 0.65 for Swakoppoort and Goreangab dams, but was higher for Von Bach dam (0.72 - 0.97). Species richness calculated with the Margaleff’s index was around 1 for all the dams and throughout all the seasons, except for Swakoppoort dam during the dry season where it was 1.5. According to the statistical analysis performed, all of the environmental parameters measured for all the dams during the dry and wet seasons were not normally distributed (p = 0.000). Correlation tests showed that all the environmental parameters captured during the time for all the dams were not statistically significant (p > 0.05). According to the literature review, the higher relative abundance of the class Chlorophycea observed during the time of sampling for the current study was due to their higher growth rates. The higher relative abundance of the genera Microcystis was due to their physiological advantage (i.e. nitrogen fixing, surface to volume ratios, intracellular gas vesicles for buoyancy and slimy undulation to enable photomovement) over other microalgae identified during the time of sampling. Microcystis was prominent mostly in Goreangab dam which was characterized by optimum combination of environmental factors such temperature, pH levels and high macronutrients when compared to the other dams. The current study recommends assessment of microalgae diversity and abundance over a one year period with sampling at least every second week. It will be essential to also study other macro-and micronutrients, trace elements, chlorophyll a along with their cumulative effects on microalgae composition. Furthermore, the study advises assessment of topography and mechanical extractions for water transfer on microalgae composition. Moreover, a variety of mesh sizes will constitute a more diversified pool of microalgae to study. The second objective of the study was to optimize the neutral intracellular lipid and biomass production in Nannochloropsis limnetica under variant nitrate concentrations in highly controlled conditions in lab-scaled bioreactors over duration of 14 days. The hypothesis was to seek whether there was no significant difference in growth rate, biomass and neutral intracellular lipid productivity of Nannochloropsis limnetica in “normal nitrate” (3.53 M), “nitrate replete” (7.06 M), “moderate nitrate deplete” (1.765 M), and “high nitrate deplete” (0.8825 M) cultivated under the same conditions of light, pH, temperature and CO2 concentration. The parameters measured throughout this process include optical density to measure growth rates, gravimetrical measurements of bio dry mass/biomass (BDM), ion chromatography measurements for ions, pH as well as sterility tests. All statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS software package (IBM statistics Version 23) and differences in data were considered significant at p < 0.05. During the main-cultivation of Nannochloropsis limnetica, growth was observed in a characteristic pattern consisting of lag, exponential, stationary and declining phases. The growth rates across all of the Flasks during the main-cultivation were not normally distributed (p = 0.012). The statistical tests showed that they were statistically significant (p = 0.001). Bio dry mass increased linearly over time for all of the Flasks from 0 day-1 to the highest on 14 day-1 at the end of the experiment. Bio dry mass was normally distributed (p = 0.055). The statistical test showed that it was statistically not significant (p = 0.939). Bio dry mass and growth rates were moderate and positively correlated and statistically not significant (rs (8) = 0.529, p = 0.077). Relative fluorescence data recorded for all the Flasks was the highest only on the first couple of days during the lag phase and decelerated towards the end of the cultivation period. Therefore, there was no lipid accumulation. The relative fluorescence data captured for neutral intracellular lipid analysis showed that during the cultivation process all of the data were not normally distributed (p = 0.000). Statistical analysis showed it to be statistically significant (p = 0.112). Correlation tests performed between BDM and lipids was strong and negatively correlated and statistically significant (rs (8) = -0.765, p = 0.004). The relationship between lipids and growth rates was moderate, negatively correlated and statistically not significant (rs (8) = -0.501, p = 0.087). The highest growth rates were under “moderate nitrate deplete” at 6 days-1, 11.32 hours at 16.11 OD. The highest BDM value (7780 mg/L) was also captured for “moderate nitrate deplete” at 14 days-1, 19.47 hours at 60.27 mg/L nitrate. The highest relative fluorescence (neutral intracellular lipid content) was captured under “nitrate replete” at 2.387 % at 1 day-1, 6.28 hours and 2550.439 mg/L nitrate. The main-cultivation addressed the hypotheses set out. The study was successful in that it exponentially optimized the biomass production of Nannochloropsis limnetica in each of the four Flasks during the main-cultivation. These results suggest elaborate research on the biomass composition for various outputs such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, pigments et cetera. It was discovered during the current study that the various nitrate concentrations did not optimize lipid productivity. Therefore, it is proposed that other macronutrients such as phosphate concentrations along with variables such as light intensity and CO2 be manipulated for lipid optimization. Furthermore, in future studies, the Nile red method should be used in conjunction with other conventional gravimetric methods for lipid quantification and validation for the N.limnetica. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher University of Namibia en_US
dc.subject Microalgae en_US
dc.subject Nannochloropsis limnetica en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Microalgae, Namibia
dc.subject.lcsh Microalgae, Biotechnology, Namibia
dc.subject.lcsh Biomass energy, Namibia
dc.title Abundance and diversity of microalgae in freshwater eutrophic systems of Namibia and optimization of lipid and biomass production in Nannochloropsis Limnetica en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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