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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Stressing Algae for Biofuel Production: Biomass and Biochemical Composition of Scenedesmus dimorphus and Selenastrum minutum Grown in Municipal Untreated Wastewater

Kudahettige, Nirupa Pushpakumari; Pickova, Jana; Gentili, Francesco G.


Biofuel production using microalgae is a renewable and environmental-friendly alternative to the use of fossil fuels. Microalgae storage lipids are promising resources for biofuel production. In this study, pure strains of the microalgae Scenedesmus dimorphus and Selenastrum minutum were grown in untreated municipal wastewater for six days under mixotrophic conditions. The algae strains were subjected to different stresses such as nutrient deprivation, and 5% (w/v) salinity to trigger lipid production and to study effect on FAME composition. The highest lipid concentrations were found in S. dimorphus (35 and 34%) and in S. minutum (40 and 39%) under nutrient deprivation and 5% salinity, respectively. On the one hand, salt stress decreased biomass production; on the other hand in both S. dimorphus and S. minutum salt stress significantly increased the concentration of saturated fatty acid (SFA) and it decreased the concentration of poly-unsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) contents, which are desirable for the production of good quality biofuel such as biodiesel. Hence our findings show how salt stress could clearly affect FAME composition in short time 1-3 days, greatly improving the FAME quality as source of biofuel.


biofuel; fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs); municipal untreated wastewater; nutrient deprivation; salt stress; Scenedesmus dimorphus; Selenastrum minutum

Published in

Frontiers in Energy Research
2018, Volume: 6, article number: 132