Algal growth and lipidomics

Economic production of microalgal biomass requires efficient means of delivery carbon to the cells. Qi Zhang and Greg Martin of the APG have helped Prof Sandra Kentish to develop a novel method for delivering CO2 directly from carbon-capture solvents using membrane technology. This method can reduce the energy associated with both delivering CO2 to the algae ponds and for regenerating the carbon-capture solvents (Qi, Martin and Kentish 2016). Current work in collaboration with Prof Sen at IIT Kharagpur is investigating delivery of recycled organic carbon to accelerate growth and lipid accumulation using mixotrophic growth.

Production of nutraceuticals and high-grade biodiesel from microalgal biomass requires detailed knowledge of the lipid content of the algae and how it is affected by growth conditions (Olmstead et al. 2013).

Understanding the processing and properties of algae-derived biodiesel requires quantitative information of the acyl chains associated with different lipid classes. In collaboration with Metabolomics Australia and CNRS in France, GC-MS and HPLC-MS techniques were used to obtain new information on alterations to lipid metabolism occurring in Nannochloropsis sp. and Chlorella sp. during nitrogen starvation (Martin et al. 2014).


Q. Zheng, G.J.O. Martin, S.E. Kentish, Energy efficient transfer of carbon dioxide from flue gases to microalgal systems, Energy & Environmental Science, 9 (2016) 1074–1082.

G.J.O. Martin, D.R.A. Hill, I.L.D. Olmstead, A. Bergamin, M.J. Shears, D.A. Dias, S.E. Kentish, P.J. Scales, C.Y. Botté, D.L. Callahan, Lipid profile remodeling in response to nitrogen deprivation in the microalgae Chlorella sp. (Trebouxiophyceae) and Nannochloropsis sp. (Eustigmatophyceae), PlosOne, 9 (2014) e103389.

I.L.D. Olmstead, D.R.A. Hill, D.A. Dias, N.S. Jayasinghe, D.L. Callahan, S.E. Kentish, P.J. Scales, G.J.O. Martin, A quantitative analysis of microalgal lipids for optimization of biodiesel and omega-3 production, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 110 (2013) 2096–2104.