Mixotrophic continuous flow cultivation of Chlorella protothecoides for lipids

Yanming Wang, Heiko Rischer, N.T. Eriksen, Marilyn Wiebe (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The oleaginous alga Chlorella protothecoides accumulates lipid in its biomass when grown in nitrogen-restricted conditions. To assess the relationship between nitrogen provision and lipid accumulation and to determine the contribution of photosynthesis in mixotrophic growth, C. protothecoides was grown in mixo- and heterotrophic nitrogen-limited continuous flow cultures. Lipid content increased with decreasing C/N, while biomass yield on glucose was not affected. Continuous production of high lipid levels (57% of biomass) was possible at high C/N (87–94). However, the lipid production rate (2.48 g L−1 d−1) was higher at D = 0.84 d−1 with C/N 37 than at D = 0.44 d−1 and C/N 87 even though the lipid content of the biomass was lower (38%). Photosynthesis contributed to biomass and lipid production in mixotrophic conditions, resulting in 13–38% reduction in CO2 production compared with heterotrophic cultures, demonstrating that photo- and heterotrophic growth occurred simultaneously in the same population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-614
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • C/N ratio
  • continuous flow culture
  • lipid
  • microalgae
  • mixotrophic growth

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