Screening Suitability of Northern Hemisphere Algal Strains for Heterotrophic Cultivation and Fatty Acid Methyl Ester Production
Molecules. 2020, 25(9):E2107
Nzayisenga JC, Niemi C, Ferro L, Gorzsas A, Gentili FG, Funk C, Sellstedt A

Rapid rises in atmospheric CO2 levels derived from fossil fuel combustion are imposing urgent needs for renewable substitutes. One environmentally friendly alternative is biodiesel produced from suitable microalgal fatty acids. Algal strains normally grow photoautotrophically, but this is problematic in Northern areas because of the light limitations for much of the year. Mixotrophic and particularly heterotrophic strains could be valuable, especially if they can be cultivated in municipal wastewater with contents of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous that should be reduced before release into receiving water. Thus, the aim of this study was to screen for microalgal strains suitable for heterotrophic cultivation with a cheap carbon source (glycerol) for biodiesel production in Nordic, and other high-latitude, countries. One of the examined strains, a Desmodesmus sp. strain designated 2-6, accumulated biomass at similar rates in heterotrophic conditions with 40 mM glycerol as in autotrophic conditions. Furthermore, in heterotrophic conditions it produced more fatty acids, and ca. 50% more C18:1 fatty acids, as well as showing a significant decrease in C18:3 fatty acids, all of which are highly desirable features for biodiesel production.

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