The effect of high pH on structural lipids in diatoms

K. Spilling (Corresponding Author), A. Brynjólfsdóttir, Dagmar Enss, Heiko Rischer, H.G. Svavarsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


We tested the hypothesis that increased pH reduces the amount of structural lipids. To do this, we used three different diatoms (Phaeodactylum tricornutum CCAP strain, P. tricornutum TV strain and Amphiprora sp). We tested the effect of rapid increase from pH 7.5 to 10 by adding NaOH. The total lipid content was reduced by 13, 36 and 47 % in the P. tricornutum CCAP strain, TV strain and Amphiprora sp., respectively, 1 h after increasing the pH. The P. tricornutum CCAP strain was used for further testing the effect of pH on the lipid content during active growth. This strain was cultivated at pH 7.5 and 10, and the pH was regulated by the CO2 inflow. The growth rate was similar (0.3 day−1) in both pH treatments, but the lipid content in the pH 10 treatment was on average 28 % lower than in the pH 7.5 treatment. Our data support the hypothesis that structural lipids are reduced when pH increases to high levels. The results suggest that regulating the pH during algae cultivation could be used to refine the lipid composition in the harvested algal biomass.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1435-1439
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • glycolipids
  • membrane lipids
  • phospholipids
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids

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