, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 129-137
Date: 01 May 2012

Effects of nitrogen supplementation of the culture medium on the growth, total lipid content and fatty acid profiles of three microalgae (Tetraselmis subcordiformis, Nannochloropsis oculata and Pavlova viridis)

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Abstract

To improve the properties of microalgae as sources for biodiesel production, three microalgae (Tetraselmis subcordiformis SHOU-S05, Nannochloropsis oculata SHOU-S14 and Pavlova viridis SHOU-S16) were cultured in media supplemented with different amounts of nitrogen (0, 0.22, 0.44, 0.88 and 1.76 mmol N·L−1). The growth, total lipid contents, lipid classes and fatty acid profiles of the three microalgae were assayed after 10 days of cultivation. The results indicated that the specific growth rates of T. subcordiformis, N. oculata and P. viridis were lowest (0.014, 0.033 and 0.018, respectively) in the treatments without nitrogen supplementation and increased significantly with increasing nitrogen supplementation. The microalgae treated with 0.22 mmol N·L−1 had the highest total lipid contents, which were 29.77, 35.85 and 32.10 % in T. subcordiformis, N. oculata and P. viridis, respectively. The total lipid contents as well as the proportions of neutral lipid in the three microalgae decreased significantly with increasing nitrogen supplementation between 0.22 and 1.76 mmol N·L−1. The fatty acid profiles of the three microalgae were significantly different. The obvious characteristic of the fatty acid profile of T. subcordiformis was a high amount (17.68–22.22 %) of 18:3n3. However, EPA (C20:5n3) and C16 fatty acids were significantly high in N. oculata and P. viridis, respectively. N. oculata and P. viridis accumulated more 16-carbon fatty acids and fewer polyunsaturated fatty acids in nitrogen-limited media. It is therefore suggested that a limited nitrogen treatment is effective for improving the properties of P. viridis and N. oculata as sources for biodiesel.