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Nitrogen Starvation for Lipid Accumulation in the Microalga Species Desmodesmus sp.


Recently, to obtain lipids from microalgae has been the object of extensive research, since it is viewed as a promising feedstock for biodiesel production, especially when compared with crops such as soybean and sunflower, in terms of theoretical performance. The reduction of nutrient availability in culture media, especially nitrogen, stresses the microorganisms and affects cell growth, thus inducing lipid accumulation. This is an interesting step in biodiesel feedstock obtention from microalgae and should be better understood. In this study, four levels of nitrogen concentration in the BG-11 culture medium were evaluated in the growth of the chlorophycean microalga Desmodesmus sp. Both cell growth and lipid content were monitored over 7 days of cultivation, which yielded a final cell density of 33 × 106 cells mL−1 with an initial NaNO3 concentration of 750 mg L−1 in the medium and a maximum lipid content of 23 % with total nitrogen starvation. It was observed that the microalgae presented high lipid accumulation in the fourth day of cultivation with nitrogen starvation, although with moderate cell growth.

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Correspondence to L. F. Rios.

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Rios, L.F., Klein, B.C., Luz, L.F. et al. Nitrogen Starvation for Lipid Accumulation in the Microalga Species Desmodesmus sp.. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 175, 469–476 (2015).

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  • Microalgae
  • Desmodesmus
  • Biodiesel
  • Lipids
  • Nitrogen starvation