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An alternative strategy for enhancing lipid accumulation in chlorophycean microalgae for biodiesel production

Sonkar, Sashi, Mallick, Nirupama
Journal of applied phycology 2018 v.30 no.4 pp. 2179-2192
Chlamydomonas, Chlorella minutissima, Chlorella vulgaris, Tetradesmus, biodiesel, biomass, feedstocks, fuel production, harvesting, lipids, microalgae, phosphates, phosphorus
Oleaginous microalgae are considered as important feedstocks for production of biodiesel. Under nutrient stress conditions, microalgae have the ability to accumulate higher amount of lipids, which can be transesterified for the production of biodiesel. In the present investigation, four different phosphate application strategies were examined in five green microalgae (Tetradesmus obliquus, Tetradesmus lagerheimii, Chlorella vulgaris, Chlorella minutissima, and Chlamydomonas sp.) to achieve higher lipid productivity. Effects of those strategies such as phosphate-sufficient (Control), phosphate-starved approach (PSA), biphasic phosphate-starved approach (BPSA), and sequential phosphate addition (SPA) were studied under batch culture mode. The BPSA emerging as the best in terms of lipid productivity consisted of two biomass harvesting phases, which would lead to an increase in the overall cost of biodiesel production. On the other hand, the SPA with a 1/200th dose of N 11 medium, i.e., 0.4 mg L⁻¹ of phosphate application in 3-day intervals, also resulted into higher lipid productivity which was equal to BPSA. Fatty acid composition of the biodiesel obtained from the microalgae was analyzed and the fuel characteristics were also evaluated. A profound (~14-fold) reduction in phosphorus requirements under the SPA mode with higher lipid productivity ensured qualitative biodiesel production and a lesser amount of phosphorus release, thus making the process eco-friendly.