Photoperiod-induced mixotrophic metabolism in Chlorella vulgaris for high biomass and lipid to biodiesel productions using municipal wastewater medium

Wai Hong Leong, Nur Afiqah Mohamad Saman, Worapon Kiatkittipong*, Suttichai Assabumrungrat, Vesna Najdanovic-Visak, Jiawei Wang, Kuan Shiong Khoo, Man Kee Lam, Mardawani Mohamad, Jun Wei Lim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The performances of autotrophic and heterotrophic metabolisms in Chlorella vulgaris were assessed from various photoperiod regimes for the sustainable microalgal biodiesel production. Accordingly, the cellular biomass growth and lipid content in relation to the organic nutrient removals from municipal wastewater medium were evaluated from the various light/dark photoperiod cycles amidst mixotrophic metabolism. The mixotrophic treatment had been proven effective in producing high microalgal biomass and lipid while alternating its autotrophic and heterotrophic metabolisms. Thus, exploiting the optimum cellular biosynthesis pathways in inducing both biomass growth and lipid accumulation. Amidst mixotrophy, prolonging light condition would favour biomass growth, whilst extending dark condition had elevated cell lipid content. Accordingly, the 16:8 (light:dark) hours/cycle photoperiod was found adequate in yielding high biomass and lipid productions (0.89 and 0.16 g/L, respectively), while achieving near complete removal (>94%) of chemical oxygen demand and ammonium-nitrogen from municipal wastewater. The dominant FAME constituents of C16 and C18 comprised of 90.65%-100% of total FAME with the high unsaturation degree could proffer an excellent quality of microalgal biodiesel with low pour point, suitable for application in cold climate regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123052
Early online date30 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Authors would like to acknowledge the 2020-21 Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) block grant funded by UK Research and Innovation (Aston University). The financial support from Reinventing University System Program by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, Thailand (Fiscal Year 2021), Silpakorn University is gratefully acknowledged. W. Kiatkittipong and S. Assabumrungrat also would like to acknowledge the Research Chair Grant supported by the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA). Jun-Wei Lim wishes to thank the financial supports received from the International Collaborative Research Fund between Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS and Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta with the cost centre of 015ME0-246 and Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia via HICoE-Centre for Biofuel and Biochemical Research with the cost centre of 015MA0-052.


  • Biodiesel
  • Microalgae
  • Mixotrophic
  • Photoperiod
  • Wastewater


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