Growth of Chlorella vulgaris and Nannochloris oculata in effluents of Tilapia farming for the production of fatty acids with potential in biofuels

  • YI Ferrer-Alvarez
  • LA Ortega-Clemente
  • IA Perez-Legaspi
  • MP Hernandez-Vergara
  • PN Robledo-Narvaez
  • E Rios-Leal
  • HM Poggi-Varaldo
Keywords: Chlorella vulgaris, Nannochloris oculata, production of fatty acids, wastewater of tilapia farming, production of biofuels.


The use of microalgae in wastewater treatment and its biotechnological exploitation for the production of biofuels is a potential environmental application. Some species of microalgae are notable due to their lipid composition and fatty acid profile suitable for biofuel production. During the present study, a factorial 23 experimental design was conducted, which assessed three factors: i) two species of microalgae (Chlorella vulgaris and Nannochloris oculata), ii) two types of culture media [wastewater of tilapia farming (WTF) and bold’s basal medium (BB)], and iii) two types of lighting (multi-LED lamps and white light). Microalgae were inoculated in photobioreactors in 6 L of medium (WTF or BBM) at an initial concentration of 1.0 × 106 cells ml-1 at 20 ± 2°C. The highest average cell density as well as the highest productivity of biomass observed in the treatments was C. vulgaris treatment in BBM and multi-LED lighting (8.83 × 107 cells ml-1 and 0.0854 g l-1 d-1, respectively). Although the majority of lipid productivity was obtained in the exponential phase of N. oculata cultivated in multi-LEDs in both treatments (BBM with 58% and WTF with 52%), cultivation of both species was generally maintained in WTF and were those that presented the major lipid productivity (2-18 mg l-1 d-1) in comparison with those cultivated in BBM. Palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, linolenic and eicosanoic (C16–C20) fatty acids were present in both species of microalgae in concentrations between 26 and 74%. Based on the results of the present study, we conclude that cultivation of N. oculata and/or C. vulgaris in WTF illuminated with multi-LEDs is an economic and sustainable alternative for biodiesel production because it can represent up to 58% of lipids with a fatty acid profile optimal up to 74% of the total fatty acids.

Key words: Chlorella vulgaris, Nannochloris oculata, production of fatty acids, wastewater of tilapia farming, production of biofuels.


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eISSN: 1684-5315