Double-high in palmitic and oleic acids accumulation in a non-model green microalga, Messastrum gracile SE-MC4 under nitrate-repletion and -starvation cultivations

Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 11;11(1):381. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-79711-2.


Bioprospecting for biodiesel potential in microalgae primarily involves a few model species of microalgae and rarely on non-model microalgae species. Therefore, the present study determined changes in physiology, oil accumulation, fatty acid composition and biodiesel properties of a non-model microalga Messastrum gracile SE-MC4 in response to 12 continuous days of nitrate-starve (NS) and nitrate-replete (NR) conditions respectively. Under NS, the highest oil content (57.9%) was achieved despite reductions in chlorophyll content, biomass productivity and lipid productivity. However, under both NS and NR, palmitic acid and oleic acid remained as dominant fatty acids thus suggesting high potential of M. gracile for biodiesel feedstock consideration. Biodiesel properties analysis returned high values of cetane number (CN 61.9-64.4) and degree of unsaturation (DU 45.3-57.4) in both treatments. The current findings show the possibility of a non-model microalga to inherit superior ability over model species in oil accumulation for biodiesel development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biofuels
  • Biomass
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Chlorophyceae* / cytology
  • Chlorophyceae* / drug effects
  • Chlorophyceae* / growth & development
  • Chlorophyceae* / metabolism
  • Culture Media / chemistry
  • Culture Media / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Microalgae / cytology
  • Microalgae / drug effects
  • Microalgae / growth & development
  • Microalgae / metabolism
  • Nitrogen / deficiency
  • Nitrogen / pharmacology
  • Oleic Acid / metabolism*
  • Palmitic Acid / metabolism*
  • Starvation / metabolism


  • Biofuels
  • Culture Media
  • Fatty Acids
  • Oleic Acid
  • Palmitic Acid
  • Nitrogen