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will optimize industrial strains up until commercialization of microalgae-based products: biostimulants for agriculture and biofunctional feeds for aquaculture.

The whole pipeline will be addressed, from selection and characterization, to large scale production, biomass processing and final bioactivity validation.

Ativity 1 - Strain performance

Selected species, Chlorella vulgaris, Scenedesmus sp., Nannochloropsis oceanica, and Phaeodactylum tricornutum, will be improved through selection of best performing microalgal strains, regarding their content in valuable compounds (biostimulant compounds, polyunsaturated fatty acids, pigments)

Lab-scale assays, considering abiotic factors such as temperature, pH, and nutrient concentration, will be performed to identify the ideal cultivation conditions to induce the synthesis of the compounds of interest.

The promising microalgae improved phenotypes will be analyzed regarding their nutritional profile as well as their functional and biostimulant properties.

Ativity 2 - Scale-up potential

The improved microalgae strains will be scaled-up from the mL scale to flat panels of 30-1000 L and tubular photobioreactors of 2600 L and cultivated using the optimal abiotic conditions defined at the lab scale.

The improved phenotypes cultures will be cultivated in outdoor pilot-scale photobioreactors for long periods of time to validate stability.

Ativity 3 - Bioavailability optimization

Disruption of microalgae cells will be optimized in terms of pressure, culture flow, operation mode, and temperature, to increase final metabolites and/or the percentage of lysate cells.

Different hydrolysis methods will be used in combination with or instead of mechanical disruption methods to find the best strategy to lysis the cell walls of the improved microalgae phenotypes. After this optimization at lab scale, the process will be replicated at the pilot scale.

The biomass extracts resulting from T3.1 and T3.2 will be evaluated in lab assays regarding their biostimulant, antioxidant, and immunostimulant activities.

Ativity 4 - Agriculture functionality

The biostimulant properties of improved C. vulgaris and Scenedesmus sp. will be determined and the most effective treatment will be used 1) to create the premium plant biostimulant product, AllGrowth Plus, and 2) in combination with different proportions of macroalgae blends to create the low-cost biostimulant, AllGrowth.

Biopesticide activity will be tested in vitro and then in vivo, against a group of diseases.

The best concentration and application mode of premium and low-cost biostimulant products will be tested in lettuce and strawberry plants cultivated in commercial production conditions to validate their efficacy.

HTST pasteurization assays will be performed, aiming to decrease the microbial load and increase stability and overall shelf-life of the biostimulant products.
Product labels will be prepared and both AllGrowth and AllGrowth Plus will be submitted to certification.

Ativity 5 - Aquafeed functionality

Functional characteristics of the improved biomasses of N. oceanica and P. tricornutum will be validated as boosters of growth and stress response performances of zebrafish larvae. Several micro diets will be formulated and fed to the larvae.

Functional activities of the formulated microalgal supplements will be validated in zebrafish juveniles.

A prototype will be designed – tested and validated in the laboratory – with a working guide to test, validate, and implement the use of functional supplements from AllGPerform line in commercial species cultivated in an industrial aquaculture environment.

Ativity 6 - Project Management and Dissemination

Project management and dissemination activities run in parallel to the others, to engage both scientific and industrial communities, to maximize dissemination of the project’s advances and to promote its innovative products.