Projections show that the cultivation of microalgae will extend to the production of bio-based compounds, such as biofuels, cosmetics, and medicines. This will generate co-products or residues that will need to be valorized to reduce the environmental impact and the cost of the process. This study explored the ability of lipid-extracted Chlorella vulgaris residue as a sole carbon and nitrogen source for growing oleaginous yeasts without any pretreatment. Both wild-type Yarrowia lipolytica W29 and mutant JMY3501 (which was designed to accumulate more lipids without their remobilization or degradation) showed a similar growth rate of 0.28 h-1 at different pH levels (3.5, 5.5, and 7.5). However, the W29 cell growth had the best cell number on microalgal residue at a pH of 7.5, while three times fewer cells were produced at all pH levels when JMY3501 was grown on microalgal residue. The JMY3501 growth curves were similar at pH 3.5, 5.5, and 7.5, while the fatty-acid composition differed significantly, with an accumulation of α-linolenic acid on microalgal residue at a pH of 7.5. Our results demonstrate the potential valorization of Chlorella vulgaris residue for Yarrowia lipolytica growth and the positive effect of a pH of 7.5 on the fatty acid profile.
Keywords: Chlorella vulgaris; Yarrowia lipolytica; fatty acids; growth.