Effect of Glycerol and Glucose on the Enhancement of Biomass, Lipid and Soluble Carbohydrate Production by Chlorella vulgaris in Mixotrophic Culture

Wei-Bao Kong1,2*, Hong Yang2, Yun-Tao Cao2, Hao Song1, Shao-Feng Hua1 and Chun-Gu Xia1*

1State Key Laboratory for Oxo Synthesis and Selective Oxidation, Lanzhou Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, 730000, PR China
2College of Life Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou, 730070, PR China

Article history:
Received July 20, 2011
Accepted March 14, 2012

Key words:

Chlorella vulgaris, glycerol, glucose, biomass production, biochemical components, mixotrophic cultivation


Biodiesel-derived glycerol is a promising substrate for mixotrophic cultivation of oleaginous microalgae, which can also reduce the cost of microalgal biodiesel. The objective of this study is to investigate the potential of using glycerol and glucose as a complex carbon substrate to produce microalgal biomass and biochemical components, such as photosynthetic pigments, lipids, soluble carbohydrates and proteins by Chlorella vulgaris. The results show that C. vulgaris can utilize glycerol as a sole carbon substrate, but its effect is inferior to that of the mixture of glycerol and glucose. The effect of glycerol and glucose could enhance the algal cell growth rate, biomass content and volumetric productivity, and overcome the lower biomass production on glycerol as the sole organic carbon source in mixotrophic culture medium. The utilization of complex organic carbon substrate can stimulate the biosynthesis of lipids and soluble carbohydrates as the raw materials for biodiesel and bioethanol production, and reduce the anabolism of photosynthetic pigments and proteins. This study provides a promising niche for reducing the overall cost of biodiesel and bioethanol production from microalgae as it investigates the by-products of algal biodiesel production and algal cell hydrolysis as possible raw materials (lipids and carbohydrates) and organic carbon substrates (soluble carbohydrates and glycerol) for mixotrophic cultivation of microalgae. 

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