Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 855–865 | Cite as

Euglena sp. as a suitable source of lipids for potential use as biofuel and sustainable wastewater treatment

  • Durga Madhab Mahapatra
  • H. N. Chanakya
  • T. V. RamachandraEmail author


Prolific algal growth in sewage ponds with high organic loads in the tropical regions can provide cost-effective and efficient wastewater treatment and biofuel production. This work examines the ability of Euglena sp. growing in wastewater ponds for biofuel production and treatment of wastewater. The algae were isolated from the sewage treatment plants and were tested for their nutrient removal capability. Compared to other algae, Euglena sp. showed faster growth rates with high biomass density at elevated concentrations of ammonium nitrogen (NH4-N) and organic carbon (C). Profuse growth of these species was observed in untreated wastewaters with a mean specific growth rate (μ) of 0.28 day−1 and biomass productivities of 132 mg  L−1  day−1. The algae cultured within a short period of 8 days resulted in the 98 % removal of NH4-N, 93 % of total nitrogen 85 % of ortho-phosphate, 66 % of total phosphate and 92 % total organic carbon. Euglenoids achieved a maximum lipid content of 24.6 % (w/w) with a biomass density of 1.24 g  L−1 (dry wt.). Fourier transform infrared spectra showed clear transitions in biochemical compositions with increased lipid/protein ratio at the end of the culture. Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry indicated the presence of high contents of palmitic, linolenic and linoleic acids (46, 23 and 22 %, respectively), adding to the biodiesel quality. Good lipid content (comprised quality fatty acids), efficient nutrient uptake and profuse biomass productivity make the Euglena sp. as a viable source for biofuel production in wastewaters.


Algal nutrient uptake Biomass productivity Euglena FAME Lipid Wastewater 



We acknowledge the common laboratory facilities at Centre for Ecological Sciences, laboratory facilities at Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (IPC), centrifuge facilities at Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Unit (MBU) at IISc for their help during the extraction experiments. We thank the central facilities for the FTIR spectroscopic studies and lipid analysis through GCMS. We are grateful to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and Indian Institute of Science for providing the financial and infrastructure support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Durga Madhab Mahapatra
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. N. Chanakya
    • 2
    • 3
  • T. V. Ramachandra
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological SciencesIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Centre for Sustainable TechnologiesIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transport and Urban PlanningIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

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