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TitleEffect of pH on neutral lipid and biomass accumulation in microalgal strains native to the Canadian prairies and the Athabasca oil sands
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsSkrupski, B., Wilson K. E., Goff K. L., & Zou J.
Pagination12 pages
Date Published08/2013
PublisherJournal of Applied Phycology
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsacidity, alkalinity, aquatic vegetation, pH

Algal biodiesel has been a subject of growing importance in the realm of renewable energy due to carbon capture properties and its potential for photosynthetic efficiency with high lipid output. This study identified five isolates of freshwater green algae, belonging to the Chlorellaceae, and measured the lipid classes and fatty acid profiles of these species to determine suitability for biodiesel production. To induce the greater accumulation of lipids, especially in the form of triacylglycerols (TAGs) desired for biodiesel, we examined the lipid accumulation in cells stressed by nitrogen limitation, sulfur deficiency, or pH stress. Increases in biomass were monitored in order to determine if adjusting pH incrementally over the course of the experiment had any effect on growth and lipid accumulation of several isolates. TAG accumulation was visually screened by Nile Red fluorescence and further assessed by gas chromatography. Lipid amounts were comparably equal or better for pH stress treatments than for standard nutrient-deprivation treatments. Incrementally adjusted pH over the course of growth triggered lipid accumulation comparable to constant pH stress treatments, yet biomass accumulation was equivalent to unstressed growth. One isolate obtained from the Athabasca oil-sands region of Alberta, OS4-2, is a good candidate for biodiesel production, having accumulated over 45 % of its dry weight as lipid, with over 80 % of the lipid as triacylglycerols, and contains an abundance of 18:1 fatty acids. This class of fatty acids improves the cold flow and oxidative stability of biodiesel and is ideal for biofuel used in a Canadian climate.

Locational Keywords

Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR)

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