Long-term spatial missions will require sustainable methods for biomass production using locally available resources. This study investigates the feasibility of cultivating Chlorella vulgaris, a high value microalgal specie, using a leachate of Martian regolith and synthetic human urine as nutrient sources. The microalga was grown in a standard medium (BBM) mixed with 0, 20, 40, 60, or 100 % Martian medium (MM). MM did not significantly affect final biomass concentrations. Total carbohydrate and protein contents decreased with increasing MM fractions between 0 % and 60 %, but biomass in the 100% MM showed the highest levels of carbohydrates and proteins (25.2 ± 0.9 % and 37.1 ± 1.4 % of the dry weight, respectively, against 19.0 ± 1.7 % and 32.0 ± 2.7 % in the absence of MM). In all MM-containing media, the fraction of the biomass represented by total lipids was lower (by 3.2 to 4.5%) when compared to BBM. Conversely, total carotenoids increased, with the highest value (97.3 ± 1.5 mg/100 g) measured with 20% MM. In a three-dimensional principal component analysis of triacylglycerols, samples clustered according to growth media; a strong impact of growth media on triacylglycerol profiles was observed. Overall, our findings suggest that microalgal biomass produced using regolith and urine can be used as a valuable component of astronauts’ diet during missions to Mars.

Cultivation and nutritional characteristics of Chlorella vulgaris cultivated using Martian regolith and synthetic urine

Casula, Mattia
Primo
;
Fais, Giacomo;Manis, Cristina;Scano, Paola;Concas, Alessandro;Cao, Giacomo;Caboni, Pierluigi
2024-01-01

Abstract

Long-term spatial missions will require sustainable methods for biomass production using locally available resources. This study investigates the feasibility of cultivating Chlorella vulgaris, a high value microalgal specie, using a leachate of Martian regolith and synthetic human urine as nutrient sources. The microalga was grown in a standard medium (BBM) mixed with 0, 20, 40, 60, or 100 % Martian medium (MM). MM did not significantly affect final biomass concentrations. Total carbohydrate and protein contents decreased with increasing MM fractions between 0 % and 60 %, but biomass in the 100% MM showed the highest levels of carbohydrates and proteins (25.2 ± 0.9 % and 37.1 ± 1.4 % of the dry weight, respectively, against 19.0 ± 1.7 % and 32.0 ± 2.7 % in the absence of MM). In all MM-containing media, the fraction of the biomass represented by total lipids was lower (by 3.2 to 4.5%) when compared to BBM. Conversely, total carotenoids increased, with the highest value (97.3 ± 1.5 mg/100 g) measured with 20% MM. In a three-dimensional principal component analysis of triacylglycerols, samples clustered according to growth media; a strong impact of growth media on triacylglycerol profiles was observed. Overall, our findings suggest that microalgal biomass produced using regolith and urine can be used as a valuable component of astronauts’ diet during missions to Mars.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/405923
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