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Abstract

Lipids produced by microalgae can be grouped into two categories, storage lipids and structural lipids. Storage lipids are mainly triglycerides (TGs) made up of saturated fatty acids; TGs can be transesterified to produce biodiesel. Structural lipids are made of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are essential nutrients for aquatic animals and humans. The objectives of this study were: (1) to determine the effect of UV-A at different levels of exposure on total lipid accumulation in Nannochloropsis oculata and check for reciprocity and (2) to study the interactive effect of UV-A and nutrient concentration on lipid accumulation in N. oculata. Objective 1 was accomplished by testing the effects of a range of UV-A irradiance (I), duration of exposure (T) and UV-A doses (I × T) on lipid production by N. oculata. If the same doses have a similar effect, irrespective of I and T, reciprocity holds. UV-A treatments significantly increased the chlorophyll-specific lipid concentration of N. oculata cells, and we were unable to falsify that reciprocity holds. Objective 2 was addressed by a factorial bioassay experiment with manipulated nutrient and UV-A levels. UV-A and decreased nutrients had a synergistic effect on chlorophyll-specific lipid concentration of N. oculata, resulting in higher lipid:chl ratios.