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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9253020, 10 pages
Research Article

A Mathematical Model of Neutral Lipid Content in terms of Initial Nitrogen Concentration and Validation in Coelastrum sp. HA-1 and Application in Chlorella sorokiniana

Tianjin Key Laboratory for Industrial Biological Systems and Bioprocessing Engineering, Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tianjin, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Yuyong Hou

Received 12 April 2016; Revised 6 November 2016; Accepted 19 December 2016; Published 18 January 2017

Academic Editor: Ramkrishna Sen

Copyright © 2017 Zhenhua Yang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Microalgae are considered to be a potential major biomass feedstock for biofuel due to their high lipid content. However, no correlation equations as a function of initial nitrogen concentration for lipid accumulation have been developed for simplicity to predict lipid production and optimize the lipid production process. In this study, a lipid accumulation model was developed with simple parameters based on the assumption protein synthesis shift to lipid synthesis by a linear function of nitrogen quota. The model predictions fitted well for the growth, lipid content, and nitrogen consumption of Coelastrum sp. HA-1 under various initial nitrogen concentrations. Then the model was applied successfully in Chlorella sorokiniana to predict the lipid content with different light intensities. The quantitative relationship between initial nitrogen concentrations and the final lipid content with sensitivity analysis of the model were also discussed. Based on the model results, the conversion efficiency from protein synthesis to lipid synthesis is higher and higher in microalgae metabolism process as nitrogen decreases; however, the carbohydrate composition content remains basically unchanged neither in HA-1 nor in C. sorokiniana.