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Bioresour Technol. 2012 Nov;124:217-26. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.08.003. Epub 2012 Aug 10.

The impact of nitrogen starvation on the dynamics of triacylglycerol accumulation in nine microalgae strains.

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Bioprocess Engineering, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Microalgae-derived lipids are an alternative to vegetable and fossil oils, but lipid content and quality vary among microalgae strains. Selection of a suitable strain for lipid production is therefore of paramount importance. Based on published results for 96 species, nine strains were selected to study their biomass, total fatty acid, and triacylglycerol (TAG) production under nitrogen-sufficient and deficient cultivation conditions. Under nitrogen-deficient conditions, Chlorella vulgaris, Chlorella zofingiensis, Neochloris oleoabundans, and Scenedesmus obliquus, accumulated more than 35% of their dry weight as TAGs. Palmitic and oleic acid were the major fatty acids produced. The main difference between these strains was the amount of biomass that was produced (3.0-7.8-fold increase in dry weight) and the duration that the biomass productivity was retained (2-7 days) after nitrogen depletion. S. obliquus (UTEX 393) and C. zofingiensis (UTEX B32) showed the highest average TAG productivity (322 and 243 mg l(-1)day(-1)).

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