July 24, 2015 at 5:38 pm #1100
me and my partner are ordering spirulina first time and run some tests with different LED-lights: infrared and UV-also.
Any suggestions what to test? Do you have any experience of growing spirulina under LED-light or any artificial light?
Oh and you did know this, right?
September 4, 2015 at 9:49 am #1144
can’t answer your question about LED-lights for spirulina but the link is very interesting!
Thanks for sharing!
Please post updates if you have more info!
October 8, 2015 at 1:28 am #1192
So a little bit of burb first…
Chlorophyll, as you know, is the pigment which converts sunlight into sugars (photosynthesis) and gives plants their green color (the chlorophyll not the sugars LOL 🙂 ). However, chlorophyll can only absorb part of the light spectrum (more about that in a minute). In addition to the chlorophyll, spirulina produces the unique light-absorbing protein complex called phycocyanin what gives spirulina its blue color (and is a potent antioxidant not found in other foods yada yada yada, this wasn’t your questions….). However phycocyanin absorbs the missing part of the light spectrum and transforms it in such a way that the chlorophyll can also integrate this portion (i.e. extra muscle in making sugars).
Because of this blue-green collaboration, Spirulina can absorb the entire light spectrum (Or more correctly large portion of it)
To answer your question which different LED-lights test with,
So, the chlorophyll of green plants absorbs mainly red and blue light and bounces out green light (it’s why we see green).
Blue-green algae, such as spirulina, have special ‘extra help’ pigment called phycocyanin (and another but no matter now – both seen as blue), which allow capturing even more red and orange light.
Ordinary “grow lights”, which are optimized for green land plants, are not particularly good for growing Spirulina or other blue-green algae (though I read that they will work – this is in relation to your questions).
Best solution in my opinion is white light supplemented by a red-orange light source (peaking at 620-650nm) I reckon this is most likely what you are after.
What im trying to say is that,
A light with more red and orange light — i.e. a “warmer” coulors — would be more efficient for growth, because higher part of the light will be absorbed.
In general, though, the color of the light source is not as important in my short experience, it’s getting the nutrients and temperature right that really counts.
Hope I helped,
March 17, 2016 at 12:30 pm #1695
This is very interesting!
“Fluctuations in the order of milliseconds between illuminated and dark zones have been shown to reduce light inhibition and increase biomass productivity (Ogbonna and Tanaka, 2000; Janssen et al., 2001). ”
March 19, 2016 at 11:14 am #1734
I’ve tried LEDs – the ones i used were red and warm white. i didn’t find the blue ones helpful. LEDs used were 3258 0.08watts per led; 60 LEDs per foot, 5 meter standard reel. i just wrapped the reels around Polypropylene bottles to test their effects. They did okay but the spirulina trichomes seem relaxed and not not very helical so i’m guessing the photoinhibition isnt an issue. One thing i noticed was that i had euglena contaminations after a while in most samples but no euglena in any of the samples under sun. I dont have a flux meter so i cant tell you how bright the LEDs were. warm white LEDs did good once the spirulina was too dense for the weaker LEDs to penetrate. i’d say that i’ve noticed longer trichomes with red light but this claim is obscure. maybe its just light starvation i even tried counting spirals but that didn’t seem to be helping since there were un-co-relatable variations.
Also after sometime at each point where the LEDs contacts the bottle there seems to be a brown patch on the inside of the bottle (consistent and observed in every bottle). these seemed to appear on the 20th day i think (not sure). but i tried collecting it and microscopically examine it, i found greenish brown cell colonies which were too small to study more with my 150x scope. they don’t seem to hurt the productivity but in the long run they will hinder transparency unless you clean the surface every 10 days.
hope this helped.
March 23, 2016 at 2:50 pm #1735
A lot of good info on here.
Every culture will have different concentration of different pigments and you’ll be able to maximize the production of one pigment or another by choosing different wavelengths in your lights.
Spirulina Division have a ver good illustration showing the different wavelengths used by the different pigments in spirulina (you can see it here http://www.spirulinaacademy.com/grow_spirulina_at_home-light/)
As a rule of thumb – Pick a light that has warmer color (625 – 650 nm). It allows spirulina to absorb a higher fraction of the light and increase the growth rate.
Put the lights on a timer and set the timer on 16h of light per day. Spirulina do need an rotation of day and night to strive.
April 20, 2016 at 10:23 am #1948
Is this thing anyway better than natural sunlight? What are the benefits of this? Why would you choose to do artificial lighting?
April 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm #1979
because you cant always have the sun shine where you want it to be.
and for productivity I guess. with artificial lighting, you can even have your spirulina photosynthesizing light 16hrs a day..
spiral out… keep going…
June 18, 2017 at 11:24 pm #2760
Where can I purchase the recommended LED that are orange and red? So any other lights are unnecessary?
June 20, 2017 at 2:40 pm #2766
You should remember that the saturation point of full sunlight with spirulina is about 30%.
So thats why shading of the culture, leads to increase in biomass – spirulina cells can even be damaged of too much light – photoinhibition is the word which means that the growth is limited of too much light – over 70% full sunlight can cause damage to cells.
One main thing why you need to mix the cultures and open ponds, get photoinhibition on daily basis which leads to dead cells in the bottom of the pool and decrease in biomass.
As LEDs are very strong, you want to calculate how many photons of different LED wavelenghts offer to certain area. It does not relate to watt, but distance of the light and the area where light is affected.
You cannot use very strong LEDs since otherwise, you would have to put them very far away from the algae.
I will have to someday do calculations myself also, but fluorescent lights are very useful. Just remember – better to have too little light, than too much. Too much light can cause the culture to go yellow very fast – inside one day.
June 21, 2017 at 11:39 am #2775
Thank you for your response. I’m still reading, making plans, and buying things.
My major challenge is choosing the healthiest initial culture medium, and the medium to add after each harvest.
I bought an incandescent 11-watt red bulb to use with a reflector-type lamp which I can attach to the side of the aquarium.
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