Revealing the role of phosphorus supply on the phosphorus distribution and lipid production in Scenedesmus obliquus UTEX 393 during nitrogen starvation

Liang Guo, Qirui Wu, Yen Jung Sean Lai, Everett Eustance, Bruce E. Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Microalgal-based processes offer promise for addressing two sustainability challenges: recovering phosphorus (P) from wastewater and producing biofuel feedstock. This study investigated the role of phosphorus supply on microalgal growth, lipid yield, and P distribution for Scenedesmus during nitrogen starvation. Extracellular polymeric substances and intracellular polymeric substances were the most important pools for inorganic phosphorus (IP) and organic phosphorus (OP), respectively. The main P pool for microalgae with low phosphorus supply was EPS, which accounted for 57 % of the total biomass phosphorus; while under high P concentrations, 79 % of the phosphorus was stored in IPS. A high concentration of orthophosphate stimulated rapid P uptake as IP and promoted the transformation of IP to OP associating with biomass synthesis. The highest P content of microalgal biomass was 6.5 % of dry weight when the phosphorus concentration in medium was 113 mg/L, and the OP content was 4.9 % of dry weight. High phosphate-P enhanced the biomass's lipid content by 60 %, and the distribution of fatty acid methyl esters was not altered by P concentrations. Collectively, high phosphate-P availability could promote microalgal biomass synthesis, lipid production and P accumulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number159811
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume858
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023

Keywords

  • Extracellular polymeric substances
  • Intracellular polymeric substances
  • Lipid production
  • Microalgae
  • Phosphorus supply

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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