The objective of this study was to document and compare the lipid class and fatty acid composition of the green microalga Chlorella zofingiensis cultivated under photoautotrophic and heterotrophic conditions. Compared with photoautotrophic cells, a 900% increase in lipid yield was achieved in heterotrophic cells fed with 30 g L(-1) of glucose. Furthermore heterotrophic cells accumulated predominantly neutral lipids (NL) that accounted for 79.5% of total lipids with 88.7% being triacylglycerol (TAG); whereas photoautotrophic cells contained mainly the membrane lipids glycolipids (GL) and phospholipids (PL). Together with the much higher content of oleic acid (C18:1) (35.2% of total fatty acids), oils from heterotrophic C. zofingiensis appear to be more feasible for biodiesel production. Our study highlights the possibility of using heterotrophic algae for producing high quality biodiesel.
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