Detection of weed algae in open pond cultures of Cyanobacterium aponinum using PAM


1 School of Engineering and Science, Jacobs-University Bremen, Campus Ring 1, 28759, Bremen, Germany

2 University of Applied Sciences Bremen, Am Neustadtswall 30, 28199, Bremen, Germany


The potential use of non-arable land in the al-Wusta region of the Sultanate of Oman for the production of algae biomass was examined. Brackish cleaned production water from oil production supplemented with commercial fertilizer was used as growth medium. The indigenous isolate Cyanobacterium aponinum WP7(1) was grown in open ponds using batch or semi-continuous cultivation. Biomass production rates of 15–24 g/m2/day were achieved. The change of salinity due to evaporation, which was thought to be a major challenge, did not exceed 35 ppt. All cultures showed contaminations with weed algae. Contaminations with green algae or diatoms were detectable using fluorescence pattern excited by four different wavelengths using a pulse-amplitude-modulation chlorophyll fluorometer (PAM). It is possible to estimate the health level and the mayor groups of which a culture is composed using the PAM method. Therefore, the fluorescence of the photosynthetically inactive sample is compared with the fluorescence after all copies of photosystem II were closed by exposing the sample to a high-intensity light beam. A detection limit of one weed algae cell in a hundred cells was achieved.