Growth Characterization and Optimization of Cyanobacterial Isolates from the Arabian Gulf

  • Luis F. Siller Rodriguez

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Photoautotrophic organisms have been highlighted as carbon capture and conversion platforms for sustainable production of agricultural and chemicals in KSA. Previously two cyanobacterial strains, Geitlerinema spp. CT7801 and CT7802, were isolated from an industrial brine outfall site in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Initial characterization of their growth characteristics showed growth at high temperature (38 ÂșC) and high salinity ( > 60 PSU), making them potentially good candidates for industrial applications. In this study, quantitative growth assays were performed using standardized methods developed for the analysis of Red Sea photosynthetic microorganisms supported by microscopic observations, optimal growth media preference assays, CO2 concentration effect, photoperiod effect, mixotrophic and heterotrophic growth tests. Data was recorded for absorbance (600 and 750 nm wave lenght), dry cell weight (DCW), colorimetric observations, and chlorophyll a content. Both CT7801 and CT7802 exhibited a clear preference for Walne's Red Sea medium. An analysis on media composition highlights B and Fe as growth enhancers, as well as a base requirement of seawater. Tests on the effect of supplied concentration of CO2 showed that air enhanced with 1 % v/v CO2 allows approximately 2-fold increase in DCW for Geitlerinema spp. CT7802. Photoperiod tests showed that continuous light is disadvantageous for phototrophic growth of Geitlerinema spp. CT7801 and CT7802. Results for mixotrophic and heterotrophic growth of Geitlerinema spp. CT7801 and CT7802 revealed their ability to metabolize glycerol. Analysis on the complete genome of CT7802 identified three key enzymes, glycerol kinase, glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and triosephosphate isomerase, which may catalyze the glycerol metabolic pathway in the strain. Utilization of glycerol, a residue of the biodiesel industry, might provide a sustainable alternative for growth of Geitlerinema sp. CT7802.
Date of AwardDec 2013
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorVladimir Bajic (Supervisor)


  • cyanobacteria
  • growth optimization
  • Red Sea
  • Geitlerinema
  • Characterization
  • Arabian Gulf

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