Effect of Nitrogen and Phosphorus Starvations on Chlorella vulgaris Lipids Productivity and Quality under Different Trophic Regimens for Biodiesel Production


In this work the effects of nutrients starvations on Chlorella vulgaris were investigated in different trophic regimens. For all the tested conditions, the cellular response to nutrient starvation and trophic regimen was evaluated on specific growth rate, biomass and lipids productivity, lipids content and quality. These parameters are all crucial for microalgae biodiesel production, but in literature the lipids quality, in terms of polar and nonpolar lipids, is often neglected. Thus the typical high content of polar lipids, a class of molecules that negatively affects the biodiesel production process, of microalgae crude oil is generally not analyzed. In the tested conditions the triggering effect of nitrogen starvation on total lipids productivity is confirmed only in autotrophic regimen, while in mixotrophic and heterotrophic conditions the total lipids productivity is reduced, as a consequence of the lowered biomass productivity, but with an evident compositional shift towards nonpolar lipids production (from 0.5 mg/Ld to 41.6 mg/Ld in mixotrophic regimen). Nitrogen and phosphorus co-starvation induced the highest nonpolar lipids productivity in all trophic regimens. Maximum nonpolar lipids productivity was obtained in nitrogen limited and phosphorus deprived condition during mixotrophic growth, equal to 118.2 mg/Ld, representing the 80% of produced lipids. On the basis of the obtained results, the possibility of a short pre-harvesting cultural step to maximize the nonpolar lipids yield of the crop could be envisaged.

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G. Belotti, M. Bravi, B. Caprariis, P. Filippis and M. Scarsella, "Effect of Nitrogen and Phosphorus Starvations on Chlorella vulgaris Lipids Productivity and Quality under Different Trophic Regimens for Biodiesel Production," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 12B, 2013, pp. 44-51. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2013.412A2006.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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