Effects of light intensity and photoperiod on growth, lipid accumulation and fatty acid composition of Desmodesmus subspicatus LC172266 under photoautotrophic cultivation

  • I.O. Ogbonna
  • J. Ikwebe
  • J.C. Ogbonna
  • C.N. Eze
  • J.B. Ndrimbula


Microalgae oil accumulation in their natural growing states hardly reaches the quantities needed to replace fossil-derived diesel. Therefore, for algae to be used as biofuel feedstock, their growths are manipulated with the aim of achieving high cell density and high lipid accumulation. Two major factors affecting microalgal biomass and lipid productivity are light intensity and photoperiod. In the present study, Desmodesmus subspicatus was grown photoautotrophically under varying light intensities and photoperiods with a view to assessing the growth, lipid accumulation potential and fatty acid composition. Whereas the optimal light intensity for biomass production of the microalga was 5000 lx, that for lipid productivity was 3500 lx. At 5000 lx and 18: 6 h light/dark cycle, biomass yield, lipid content and lipid productivity were highest, at values of 1.92 ± 0.03 g/L, 53% and 118.80 ± 2.04 mgL-1day -1 respectively. The major fatty acid of the alga was oleic acid irrespective of light changes. The quantities of lipid accumulated and the properties of the fatty acid methyl esters showed that Desmodesmus subspicatus LC172266 is an ideal feedstock for biodiesel production.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0189-1731