- Using an analogy with fed-batch heterotrophic growth, the algal photoautotrophic yield Φ(DW) (in grams of dry weight biomass synthesized per micromole of absorbed photons) was derived from the algae batch growth behavior in nutrient-replete medium. At known levels of incident light, the yield Φ(DW) enables the estimate of a maximum productivity, and is therefore critical to compare and select algal cultures and growth conditions for large-scale production. The algal culture maximum growth rate was shown to be an unreliable indicator of autotrophic biomass yield. The developed carbonate addition method (carbonate addition, neutralization, and sealing) alleviated carbon limitations otherwise seen in aerated batch cultures, leading to two to five fold higher yield estimates. The fully defined FLX growth medium with variable ionic strengths (FLX1-100) supported excellent growth in most cultures tested. The chosen experimental methods and versatile FLX medium proved well-suited for small sample volumes and a high number of samples.