Isolation of high-lipid content strains of the marine microalga Tetraselmis suecica for biodiesel production by flow cytometry and single-cell sorting
Biodiesel from algae is considered an alternative for a third generation of biofuels. However, most microalgae are not lipogenic during fast growth periods, but high-lipid content occurs at resting stages. Microalgae biomass production for biodiesel needs continuous high volumetric and aerial yields and large amount of neutral lipid in the biomass. These requirements are similar to demanding a marathon runner to be obese. We show that by using cell sorting capabilities of flow cytometers, in combination with the lipid-soluble fluorescent dye Nile Red, we can isolate and select cells with a high and stable lipid content. In our study, we were able to select the equivalent of a stable “fat marathon runner” through three sorting events obtained from wild populations of Tetraselmis suecica.
KeywordsCytometry Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) Nile Red (NR) Neutral lipids Tetraselmis suecica
This work has been supported by the “Consorcio Estratégico Nacional de Investigación Técnica” (CENIT)—“Proyecto de Investigación para el Impulso del Biodiesel en España” (PIIBE), of the Spanish Government (coordinated by Repsol-YPF). We would like to thank Dr J.L. Gómez-Pinchetti for his thoughtful comments and advice during the development of this study.
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