A novel green unicellular microalgal isolate from the freshwater of the Inner Mongolia Province of China and named as CCTCC M209220, grows between pH 6 and 11 and temperatures of 20–35°C with optimal conditions at pH 9 and 30°C. Morphological features and the phylogenetic analysis for the 18S rRNA gene reveal that the isolate is a Chlorella sorokiniana strain. A nitrogen source test reveals that this strain can grow well with nitrate and urea, but not ammonium. The strain can grow heterotrophically with glucose as the carbon source and accumulates lipid content as high as 56% (w/w) dry weight after 7 days in high glucose concentrations compared to 19% lipids achieved in 30 days of photoautotrophic culture. The relative neutral lipid content as a fraction of the total lipid is also much higher in heterotrophic culture as compared to photoautotrophic culture. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2012; 109:1958–1964. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.