Heavy-ion mutagenesis is a technology used for effective production of genetic mutants. This study demonstrates that algal breeding using a unicellular alga, Parachlorella kessleri, by heavy-ion mutagenesis can improve lipid yield in laboratory experiments. The primary screening yielded 23 mutants among which a secondary screening yielded 7 strains, which were subjected to phenotypic assays. P. kessleri strains produced by heavy-ion radiation spanned a broad spectrum of phenotypes that differed in lipid content and fatty acid profiles. Starch grain morphology was distinctively altered in one of the mutants. The growth of strain PK4 was comparable to that of the wild type under stress-free culture conditions, and the mutant also produced large quantities of lipids, a combination of traits that may be of commercial interest. Thus, heavy-ion irradiation is an effective mutagenic agent for microalgae and may have potential in the production of strains with gain-of-function phenotypes.
Keywords: Algae; Breeding; Heavy-ion irradiation; Mutation; Parachlorella.
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