Neutral lipid accumulation at elevated temperature in conditional mutants of two microalgae species

Shuo Yao, Anders Bøving Brandt, Helge Egsgaard, Claes Gjermansen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Triacylglycerols, an energy storage compound in microalgae, are known to be accumulated after nitrogen starvation of microalgae cells. Microalgae could be of importance for future biodiesel production due to their fast growth rate and high oil content. In collections of temperature sensitive mutants of Chlamydomonas
reinhardtii and Chlorella vulgaris, nine out of fourty-one mutants in C. reinhardtii and eleven out of fifty-three mutants in C. vulgaris contained increased amounts of neutral lipids, predominantly as triacylglycerols. Upon temperature induced cell-cycle arrest, these mutants showed enlarged cellular volume compared with the wild type. The C. reinhardtii mutants were analyzed further and one type of
mutants displayed a shift in lipid composition from polar membrane lipids to neutral lipids after a temperature up-shift, while the second type of mutants accumulated more total lipid per cell, predominantly as neutral lipids as compared with the wild type. Three C. reinhardtii mutants were analyzed further and found to be arrested after DNA synthesis but prior to cell division in the cell cycle. These mutants will be useful in order to further understand neutral lipid accumulation in microalgae and suggest possibilities for biodiesel production by specific induction of lipid accumulation in miroalgal cultures by cell-cycle inhibition.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Physiology and Biochemistry
Pages (from-to)71-79
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Neutral lipids
  • Triacylglycerol
  • Temperature sensitive mutants
  • Cell cycle
  • Chlamydomonas
  • Chlorella

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