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Changes in lipid, protein and pigment concentrations in nitrogen-stressed Chlorella minutissima cultures

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Many changes occur in the biochemical composition of microalgae in response to stress conditions. In the present study, two nitrogen-stressed Chlorella minutissima strains (MACC 360 and 452) were placed in media containing a range of nitrogen concentrations (7–700 mg L−1 N). Biomass, chlorophyll a and b, carotenoid, protein and lipid concentrations were monitored over 15 days. There was lower biomass accumulation in nitrogen-deficient treatments while lipid yields increased to 40–46% DW in response to nitrogen deficiency. Chlorophyll concentrations initially recovered in response to the nitrogen spike with maximum concentrations recorded on days 6–8 and decreased thereafter as nitrogen became limiting. In comparison, proteins recovered faster with maximum concentrations recorded on day 4. Carotenoid concentrations did not increase in response to the nitrogen spike.

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The National Research Foundation (South Africa)/Hungarian Collaborative Project, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) and the European Union Project are thanked for financial support. Authors also thank the TÁMOP-4.2.2-08/1-2008-0020 project for support.

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Correspondence to Vince Ördög.

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Ördög, V., Stirk, W.A., Bálint, P. et al. Changes in lipid, protein and pigment concentrations in nitrogen-stressed Chlorella minutissima cultures. J Appl Phycol 24, 907–914 (2012).

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