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The impact of abiotic factors on the growth and lipid accumulation of some green microalgae for sustainable biodiesel production


Three species of freshwater planktonic green microalgae: Ankistrodesmus braunii, Ankistrodesmus falcatus, and Scenedesmus incrassatulus, were isolated from the Nile water in Upper Egypt. These microalgae were exposed to nutritional (nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron) limitations and salinity stress to study their effects on the algal growth and to elevate the lipid content within their cells. The results indicated that exposure to these conditions had a significant impact on the algal growth. The lipid content of the studied algae increased as a result of the salinity stress. The highest lipid content was recorded in A. braunii culture treated with 50 mM NaCl (34.4% of dry weight) and S. incrassatulus cultures treated with 100 mM NaCl (37.7% of dry weight) on the 6th day of cultivation, while the culture of A. falcatus treated with 100 mM NaCl recorded the maximum lipid content (53% of dry weight) on the 10th day of the experiment. The biodiesel quality parameters of the fatty acid methyl ester profile of S. incrassatulus appeared to be in agreement with the international criteria. S. incrassatulus could be regarded as a quite promising feedstock for the biodiesel production.

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Availability of data and materials

On appropriate request, the datasets used during the present analysis are available from the corresponding author.



degree of unsaturation

υ :

kinematic viscosity

ρ :

oil density


higher heating value


cold filter plugging point


long-chain saturation factor


iodine value


saponification value


cetane number


fatty acid methyl esters


saturated fatty acids


monounsaturated fatty acids


polyunsaturated fatty acids




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MAF identified the studied microalgae, designed the study, and wrote the manuscript in consultation with AME, MSA, and SSAM. AME and MSA participated in the design of the study. SSAM performed the experiments and analyzed the data. All authors read and approved the final manuscript

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Correspondence to Mustafa A. Fawzy.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Responsible Editor: Ta Yeong Wu

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Fawzy, M.A., El-Otify, A.M., Adam, M.S. et al. The impact of abiotic factors on the growth and lipid accumulation of some green microalgae for sustainable biodiesel production. Environ Sci Pollut Res 28, 42547–42561 (2021).

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  • Ankistrodesmus braunii
  • Ankistrodesmus falcatus
  • Scenedesmus incrassatulus
  • Nutrient limitation
  • Salinity stress
  • Fatty acid methyl ester profiles