Biotechnology Letters

, 33:1973 | Cite as

Biomass and lipid production of heterotrophic microalgae Chlorella protothecoides by using biodiesel-derived crude glycerol

  • Yen-Hui Chen
  • Terry H. Walker
Original Research Paper


Microalgal lipids may be a more sustainable biodiesel feedstock than crop oils. We have investigated the potential for using the crude glycerol as a carbon substrate. In batch mode, the biomass and lipid concentration of Chlorella protothecoides cultivated in a crude glycerol medium were, respectively, 23.5 and 14.6 g/l in a 6-day cultivation. In the fed-batch mode, the biomass and lipid concentration improved to 45.2 and 24.6 g/l after 8.2 days of cultivation, respectively. The maximum lipid productivity of 3 g/l day in the fed-batch mode was higher than that produced by batch cultivation. This work demonstrates the feasibility of crude biodiesel glycerol as an alternative carbon substrate to glucose for microalgal cultivation and a cost reduction of carbon substrate feed in microalgal lipid production may be expected.


Biodiesel Chlorella protothecoides Crude glycerol Heterotrophic growth Lipid productivity 



This research was supported by Clemson University Public Service Activities and in part by the US of Department of Energy. We also appreciate Southeast Biodiesel-North Charleston Plant (N. Charleston, SC, USA) for providing the crude glycerol samples.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biosystems EngineeringClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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