Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 97, Issue 14, pp 6581–6588 | Cite as

Effect of different C/N ratios on carotenoid and lipid production by Rhodotorula glutinis

  • Teresa BraunwaldEmail author
  • Lisa Schwemmlein
  • Simone Graeff-Hönninger
  • William Todd French
  • Rafael Hernandez
  • William E. Holmes
  • Wilhelm Claupein
Bioenergy and biofuels


Due to the increasing demand for sustainable biofuels, microbial oils as feedstock for the transesterification into biodiesel have gained scientific and commercial interest. Also, microbial carotenoids have a considerable market potential as natural colorants. The carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratio of the respective cultivation media is one of the most important parameters that influence the production of microbial lipids and carotenoids. Thus, in the present experiment, the influence of different C/N ratios, initial glucose loadings, and ammonium concentrations of the cultivation medium on microbial cell growth and lipid and carotenoid production by the oleaginous red yeast Rhodotorula glutinis has been assessed. As a general trend, both lipid and carotenoid production increased at high C/N ratios. It was shown that not only the final C/N ratio but also the respectively applied initial carbon and nitrogen contents influenced the observed parameters. The lipid yield was not affected by different ammonium contents, while the carotenoid production significantly decreased both at low and high levels of ammonium supply. A glucose-based increase from C/N 70 to 120 did not lead to an increased lipid production, while carotenoid synthesis was positively affected. Generally, it can be asserted that lipid and carotenoid synthesis are stimulated at higher C/N ratios.


Microbial lipid Microbial carotenoid Rhodotorula glutinis C/N ratio 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa Braunwald
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lisa Schwemmlein
    • 1
  • Simone Graeff-Hönninger
    • 1
  • William Todd French
    • 2
  • Rafael Hernandez
    • 2
  • William E. Holmes
    • 2
  • Wilhelm Claupein
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Crop ScienceUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical EngineeringMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA

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