Nanoparticle-Mediated Impact on Growth and Fatty Acid Methyl Ester Composition in the Cyanobacterium Fremyella diplosiphon

  • Behnam Tabatabai
  • Somayeh Gharaie Fathabad
  • Enock Bonyi
  • Sophia Rajini
  • Kadir Aslan
  • Viji SittherEmail author


Insufficient light supply is a major limitation in cultivation of cyanobacteria for scaled-up biofuel production and other biotechnological applications, which has driven interest in nanoparticle-mediated enhancement of cellular light capture. In the present study, Fremyella diplosiphon wild-type (Fd33) and halotolerant (HSF33-2) strains were grown in solution with 20-, 100-, and 200-nm-diameter gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to determine their impact on biomass accumulation, pigmentation, and fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) production. Results revealed a significant increase in growth of Fd33 (0.244 ± 0.006) and HSF33-2 (0.112 ± 0.003) when treated with 200-nm AuNPs. In addition, we observed a significant increase in chlorophyll a accumulation in 200-nm AuNP-treated Fd33 (25.7%) and HSF33-2 (36.3%) indicating that NPs enhanced photosynthetic pigmentation. We did not observe any alteration in FAME composition and biodiesel properties of transesterified F. diplosiphon lipids among all AuNP treatments. Interactions between F. diplosiphon and AuNPs were visualized using scanning electron microscopy. Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy confirmed the presence of AuNPs outside the cells with aggregation in high cell density locales. Our findings indicate that nanotechnological approaches could significantly enhance growth of the organism with no negative effect on FAME-derived biodiesel properties, thus augmenting F. diplosiphon potential as a biofuel agent.


Biodiesel Chlorophyll a Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy Gold colloids Surface plasmon resonance 



The authors thank Dr. Beronda L. Montgomery at Michigan State University for providing the Fd33 strain used in the study and Dr. Solomon Tadesse at Morgan State University for technical help in transesterification.

Funding information

The study was supported in part by the USDA NIFA [2016-67032-25007] and National Institutes of Health [UL1GM118973] awarded to Morgan State University.

Supplementary material

12155_2019_9966_MOESM1_ESM.docx (69 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 68 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyMorgan State UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringMorgan State UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Middle East Educational ServicesDohaQatar

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