Two strains of Cyandium caladarium which possess different biochemical and nutritional characteristics were examined with respect to their ability to utilize amino acids or 2-ketoglutarate as substrates. One strain utilizes alanine, glutamate or aspartate as nitrogen sources, and glutamate, alanine, or 2-ketoglutarate as carbon and energy sources for growth in the dark. The growth rate in the dark on 2-ketoglutarate is almost twice as high or higher than that on glutamate or alanine. During growth or incubation of this alga on amino acids, large amounts of ammonia are formed; however, ammonia formation is strongly inhibited by 2-ketoglutarate. The capacity of the alga and develops fully only when the cells are grown or incubated in the presence of glutamate.