, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 79–89 | Cite as

Behavior of the extremophile green alga Coccomyxa melkonianii SCCA 048 in terms of lipids production and morphology at different pH values

  • Santina Soru
  • Veronica MalavasiEmail author
  • Pierluigi Caboni
  • Alessandro Concas
  • Giacomo Cao
Original Paper


The extremophile green alga Coccomyxa melkonianii SCCA 048 was investigated to evaluate its ability to grow in culture media with different pH. Specifically, Coccomyxa melkonianii was sampled in the Rio Irvi river (Sardinia, Italy) which is severely polluted by heavy metals as a result of abandoned mining activities. In this study, the strain was cultivated in growth media where the pH was kept fixed at the values of 4.0, 6.8 and 8.0, respectively. During the investigation, a significant phenotypic plasticity of this strain was observed. The strain grew well in the pH range 4.0–8.0, while the optimal value for its growth was 6.8. Furthermore, maximum lipid contents of about 24 and 22 %wt were achieved at the end of cultivation when using pH 4.0 and 8.0, respectively. Finally, the analysis of fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) highlights the presence of suitable amounts of compounds which can be profitably exploited in the food, nutraceutical, and cosmetic industry. This aspect, coupled with the possibility of cultivating Coccomyxa melkonianii under extreme pH conditions in economic open ponds, makes this strain an interesting candidate for several biotechnological applications.


Coccomyxa melkonianii SCCA 048 Extremophile algae pH response Fatty acids Morphology 



The financial support of the COMISAR project (POR FESR 2014/2020 - Asse prioritario I “ricerca scientifica, sviluppo tecnologico e innovazione” Regione Autonoma della Sardegna, Italy) is gratefully acknowledged. One of us S.S. acknowledges the financial support obtained from the University of Cagliari during her Ph.D. program in Innovation Sciences and Technologies.

Supplementary material

792_2018_1062_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (29 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (JPG 381 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Interdepartmental Center of Environmental Science and Engineering (CINSA)University of CagliariCagliariItaly
  2. 2.Department of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly
  3. 3.Center for Advanced StudiesResearch and Development in Sardinia (CRS4)CagliariItaly
  4. 4.Department of Mechanical, Chemical and Materials EngineeringUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly

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