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Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2014 Dec;174(7):2435-45. doi: 10.1007/s12010-014-1183-9. Epub 2014 Sep 11.

Enhanced accumulation of carbohydrate and starch in Chlorella zofingiensis induced by nitrogen starvation.

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Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, 510640, China.


Though less attention has been paid to microalgae as a feedstock for bioethanol production, many microalgae seem to have this potential since they contain no lignin, minor hemicellulose, and abundant carbohydrate. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of nitrogen starvation on carbohydrate and starch accumulation in green microalga Chlorella zofingiensis and assess the feasibility of using this microalga as a bioethanol feedstock. The results showed that the specific growth rate under nitrogen starvation (0.48 day(-1)) was much lower than that under nitrogen repletion (1.02 day(-1)). However, nitrogen starvation quickly induced the accumulation of carbohydrate, especially starch. After merely 1 day of nitrogen starvation, carbohydrate and starch increased 37 % and 4.7-fold, respectively. The highest carbohydrate content reached 66.9 % of dry weight (DW), and 66.7 % of this was starch. In order to obtain enough carbohydrate productivities for bioethanol production, two-stage cultivation strategy was implemented and found to be effective for enhancing biomass, carbohydrate, and starch simultaneously. The optimal biomass, carbohydrate, and starch productivities of C. zofingiensis were obtained after 5 days of cultivation, and their values were 699, 407, and 268 mg L(-1) day(-1), respectively.

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