Effective enhancement of neutral lipid (especially triacylglycerol, TAG) content in microalgae is an important issue for commercialization of microalgal biorefineries. Pressure is a key physical factor affecting the morphological, physiological, and biochemical behaviors of organisms. In this paper, we report a new stress-based method for induction of TAG accumulation in microalgae (specifically, Chlorella sp. KR-1 and Ch. sp. AG20150) by very-short-duration application of mild pressure. Pressure treatments of 10–15 bar for 2 h resulted in a considerable, ∼55% improvement of the 10–100 g/L cells’ TAG contents compared with the untreated control. The post-pressure-treatment increase of cytoplasmic TAG granules was further confirmed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Notwithstanding the increased TAG content, the total lipid content was not changed by pressurization, implying that pressure stress possibly induces rapid remodeling/transformation of algal lipids rather than de novo biosynthesis of TAG.
- Pressure stress
- Neutral lipid