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Lipid metabolism in the genus Chlorella

Janka Widzgowski

The genus Chlorella includes some of the fastest growing phototrophic organisms (µmax up to 0.3 h-1). These green algae are characterized by strong resilience to changing environmental conditions which is also reflected in their native origin from desert sand crusts over temperate latitudes to Arctic regions. So far, the mechanisms used by the genus Chlorella to cope with extreme conditions are largely unknown. In this context membranes are crucial in their function as flexible barriers. In particular, we observed that Chlorella responds on different environmental conditions with stress specific alterations in their membrane lipid composition. Therefore, we are focusing on lipid biosynthesis and abiotic stress induced lipid remodelling in green algae.


  • Phototrophic and mixotrophic cultivation in shaking flasks and lab scale photo bioreactor with upscale to outdoor cultivation
  • Fatty acid analysis by GC-MS and glycerolipid analysis by direct infusion tandem mass spectrometry
  • In silico analysis of de novo sequenced genomes using balst+
  • Heterologous expression in cyanobacteria

Widzgowski et al., 2017. High light resilience is reflected in the membrane lipid composition of Chlorella. (Submitted)