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Microalga Scenedesmus obliquus as a potential source for biodiesel production


Biodiesel from microalgae seems to be the only renewable biofuel that has the potential to completely replace the petroleum-derived transport fuels. Therefore, improving lipid content of microalgal strains could be a cost-effective second generation feedstock for biodiesel production. Lipid accumulation in Scenedesmus obliquus was studied under various culture conditions. The most significant increase in lipid reached 43% of dry cell weight (dcw), which was recorded under N-deficiency (against 12.7% under control condition). Under P-deficiency and thiosulphate supplementation the lipid content also increased up to 30% (dcw). Application of response surface methodology in combination with central composite rotary design (CCRD) resulted in a lipid yield of 61.3% (against 58.3% obtained experimentally) at 0.04, 0.03, and 1.0 g l−1 of nitrate, phosphate, and sodium thiosulphate, respectively for time culture of 8 days. Scenedesmus cells pre-grown in glucose (1.5%)-supplemented N 11 medium when subjected to the above optimized condition, the lipid accumulation was boosted up to 2.16 g l−1, the value ~40-fold higher with respect to the control condition. The presence of palmitate and oleate as the major constituents makes S. obliquus biomass a suitable feedstock for biodiesel production.

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The authors would like to thank Mr. Subhash Chand for his assistance and Mr. Shovon Mandal is thankful to the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India, for providing fellowship.

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Correspondence to Nirupama Mallick.

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Mandal, S., Mallick, N. Microalga Scenedesmus obliquus as a potential source for biodiesel production. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 84, 281–291 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-009-1935-6

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  • Biodiesel
  • CCRD
  • N-limitation
  • P-limitation
  • RSM
  • Scenedesmus