Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 21–22, pp 8863–8874 | Cite as

The growth and lutein accumulation in heterotrophic Chlorella protothecoides provoked by waste Monascus fermentation broth feeding

  • Zhenyao Wang
  • Rong Zhou
  • Yufang Tang
  • Ziting Wang
  • Bo Feng
  • Yuqin LiEmail author
Biotechnological products and process engineering


Although the potential of heterotrophic microalgae served as a sustainable source for lutein, it was still crucial to formulate a suitable medium to offset the cost involved in algal biomass cultivation while improve inherent lutein productivity. The objective of this study was to investigate the feasibilities of waste Monascus fermentation broth medium (MFBM) toward heterotrophic Chlorella protothecoides-enriched lutein. The results indicated that C. protothecoides subjected to MFBM batch feeding achieved 7.1 g/L biomass and 7.27 mg/g lutein. The resulting lutein productivity (7.34 mg/L/day) represented 1.54-fold more than that of frequently used Basal medium. Concurrently, the effective metabolism and absorption of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in MFBM by C. subellipsoidea cultivation make it easily complied with the permissible dischargeable limits for fermentation broth. When response to fed-batch culture mode, the biomass and lutein productivity peaked 20.4 g/L and 9.11 mg/L/day with concentrated MFBM feeding. Transcriptomics data hinted that MFBM feeding manipulated lutein biosynthesis key checkpoints (e.g., lycopene β-cyclase and lycopene ε-cyclase) while accelerated energy pathways (e.g., glycolysis and TCA cycle) to contribute such high lutein productivity in C. protothecoides. These encouraging findings not only provided indications in applying nutrient-rich fermentation broth for affordable microalgae cultivation but also presented possibilities in linking algal high value-added products like lutein with high-efficient biological nutrition removal from industrial fermentation processing.


Chlorella protothecoides Monascus fermentation broth Heterotrophic Lutein productivity Transcriptomics 


Funding information

This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (21676228, 21777135), Hunan Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (2017JJ3300), Scientific Research Fund of Hunan Provincial Education Department (18A068), and Collaborative Innovation Center of New Chemical Technologies for Environmental Benignity and Efficient Resource Utilization.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or experimental animals by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2019_10150_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (997 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 3212 kb)
253_2019_10150_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (997 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 295 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhenyao Wang
    • 1
  • Rong Zhou
    • 1
  • Yufang Tang
    • 1
  • Ziting Wang
    • 1
  • Bo Feng
    • 1
  • Yuqin Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Food Science and Engineering, School of Chemical EngineeringXiangtan UniversityXiangtanChina

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