January 15 2022

Time-Lapse Algae Scale-Up

Algae Photobioreactor Time-Lapse Scale-Up

Watch as the photobioreactor automatically scale-up this algae culture over four days.


This 1250L PBR from Industrial Plankton was inoculated with 2x 20 L carboys of Chaetoceros muelleri grown in f/2+Si culture media.  Stay tuned for a video of this inoculation!  

Once inoculated, water was continuously added to the bioreactor with nutrients (bottles to the left and right of the screen) automatically stirred and added by peristaltic pumps every hour.  As the algae grows the bioreactor injects CO2 to maintain the pH setpoint.


To prevent contamination, the water and air added to the culture are filtered through 0.1 μm autoclaveable filters before entering the tank.  

  1. muelleri is a brownish coloured diatom, but looks purple in the bioreactor because of the custom LED blend we use for optimal algae growth.  Initially the 400 L of f/2 + Si media in the reactor appears mostly clear, but darkens as the algae culture in the PBR gets denser.


If you look closely, you can see some of the data displayed by the 1250L PBR’s touchscreen.  The display shows important parameters such as temperature, pH, light intensity, tank volume and the relative density of the algae.  Bioreactor settings can also be changed from this touchscreen display.

We inoculated our bioreactor just before the weekend, which is why you won’t see any people in the first bit of the video.  However, the 1250L PBR has web-based remote access. Because of this, we could connect to it, view the data on the display, and adjust any parameters if we wanted to.


Once our culture reaches the density we want, it will be time to harvest!  Harvesting from the 1250L PBR is easy and flexible. You can press a button to harvest the volume you want, schedule a harvest of a specific volume to occur at a specific time, or continuously overflow harvest.

If you would like to learn more about Industrial Plankton bioreactors, or about more general algae culture techniques such as sterile transfer, please check out our other videos.

Chaetoceros muelleri scale-up

Chaetoceros muelleri algae culture

Chaetoceros muelleri algae culture