Main content area

Dependency of the fatty acid composition of Euglena gracilis on growth phase and culture conditions

Schwarzhans, Jan-Philipp, Cholewa, Dominik, Grimm, Philipp, Beshay, Usama, Risse, Joe-Max, Friehs, Karl, Flaschel, Erwin
Journal of applied phycology 2015 v.27 no.4 pp. 1389-1399
Euglena gracilis, biodiesel, cell growth, fatty acid composition, functional foods, glucose, microalgae, mixtures, nitrogen content, peptones, polyunsaturated fatty acids, sampling
Usually, the fatty acid (FA) composition of lipids from microalgae is determined using samples taken at a single time point only, often without considering the medium composition and cultivation conditions. Therefore, the results only represent the FA composition of cells in a certain growth phase. Furthermore, they may misrepresent the capability of the organism to produce certain FA or lipid mixtures. In this study, 22 FA were analysed quantitatively during the cultivation of Euglena gracilis under different cultivation modes and conditions. For cell growth, various media compositions for heterotrophic and photoheterotrophic conditions were used. Results of extensive FA analysis allowed the determination of appropriate cultivation conditions and durations for yielding lipid mixtures with optimal composition, e.g. for the production of biodiesel or functional food. Drastic differences in the ratio between n3- and n6-polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) ranging from 0.04 to 1.81 were detected. This effect was strongly influenced by the cultivation mode. In addition, media with higher nitrogen concentration resulted in a higher n3/n6-PUFA-ratio as well as improved specific growth rates for all analysed combinations of glucose and nitrogen concentrations. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the inexpensive proteose peptone medium is ideal for lipid production by E. gracilis. This work provides valuable tools to optimise yield, productivity and n3/n6-PUFA ratio concerning the cultivation of E. gracilis as well as potentially other microalgae in general.