New insights into raceway cultivation of Euglena gracilis under long-term semi-continuous nitrogen starvation

Sci Rep. 2023 May 2;13(1):7123. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-34164-1.


This study aimed to investigate the physiological responses of Euglena gracilis (E. gracilis) when subjected to semicontinuous N-starvation (N-) for an extended period in open ponds. The results indicated that the growth rates of E. gracilis under the N- condition (11 ± 3.3 g m-2 d-1) were higher by 23% compared to the N-sufficient (N+, 8.9 ± 2.8 g m-2 d-1) condition. Furthermore, the paramylon content of E.gracilis was above 40% (w/w) of dry biomass in N- condition compared to N+ (7%) condition. Interestingly, E. gracilis exhibited similar cell numbers regardless of nitrogen concentrations after a certain time point. Additionally, it demonstrated relatively smaller cell size over time, and unaffected photosynthetic apparatus under N- condition. These findings suggest that there is a tradeoff between cell growth and photosynthesis in E. gracilis, as it adapts to semi-continuous N- conditions without a decrease in its growth rate and paramylon productivity. Notably, to the author’s knowledge, this is the only study reporting high biomass and product accumulation by a wild-type E. gracilis strain under N- conditions. This newly identified long-term adaptation ability of E. gracilis may offer a promising direction for the algal industry to achieve high productivity without relying on genetically modified organisms.

PMID:37130945 | PMC:PMC10154353 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-023-34164-1


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