Biotechnological product potential of Auxenochlorella protothecoides including biologically active compounds (BACs) under nitrogen stress conditions

Ece Polat*, Bahar Yavuztürk-Gül, Hülya Ünver, Mahmut Altınbaş

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Nitrogen stress can influence microalgae’s growth characteristics, and microalgae grown in nitrogen-deficient conditions may produce higher or lower levels of biotechnological products as a result of metabolic changes. In photoautotrophic and heterotrophic cultures, nitrogen limitation has been proven effective in promoting lipid accumulation. In spite of this, no study has demonstrated a significant correlation between lipid content and other biotechnological products such as bioactive compounds (BACs). This research examines a strategy for lipid accumulation as well as the potential production of BACs with antibacterial properties in parallel with that strategy. This concept involved the treatment of the microalga Auxenochlorella protothecoides with low and high concentrations of ammonium (NH4+). This particular experiment reached a maximum lipid content of 59.5% using a 0.8 mM NH4+ concentration, resulting in the yellowing of the chlorophyll levels. Agar diffusion assays were conducted to determine the antibacterial activity of different extracts derived from the biomass when stressed with different levels of nitrogen. Algal extracts prepared by a variety of solvents showed different levels of antibacterial activity against representative strains of both gram-negative (Escherichia coli) and gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria. Among the extracts tested, 500 mg/L ethyl acetate extract had the greatest antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli. In order to identify the components responsible for the extract’s antibacterial activity, fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) analysis was performed. It has been suggested that the lipid fraction may be a valuable indicator of these activities since some lipid components are known to possess antimicrobial properties. In this regard, it was found that the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) significantly decreased by 53.4% under the conditions with the highest antibacterial activity observed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number198
JournalWorld Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Ammonium stress
  • Antibacterial activity
  • Fatty acid methyl esters (FAME)
  • Microalgae
  • Photoheterotrophic growth


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