A new procedure for the production of ultrafine calcite particles by the marine coccolithophorid alga Pleurochrysis carterae is reported. During continuous culture, calcite particles (coccoliths) were detached from the cell surface by optimized air-bubbling, which greatly reduced the damage associated with previous sonication methods. Detached calcite particles could be continuously recovered directly from the culture medium using a nylon mesh membrane filtration module. Cells remained viable and continued to produce coccoliths during culture. The optimum productivity of ultrafine calcite particles was 18 mg/l per day. These results demonstrate the potential for a continuous system for the photosynthetically driven removal of CO2 and its fixation into ultrafine inorganic calcite particles.
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