We isolated fifty-two strains from the marine aquaculture ponds in Malaysia that were evaluated for their lipid production and ammonium tolerance and four isolates were selected as new ammonium tolerant microalgae with high-lipid production: TRG10-p102 Oocystis heteromucosa (Chlorophyceae); TRG10-p103 and TRG10-p105 Thalassiosira weissflogii (Bacillariophyceae); and TRG10-p201 Amphora coffeiformis (Bacillariophyceae). Eicosapentenoic acid (EPA) in three diatom strain was between 2.6 and 18.6 % of total fatty acids, which were higher than in O. heteromucosa. Only A. coffeiformi possessed arachidonic acid. Oocystis heteromucosa naturally grew at high ammonium concentrations (1.4-10 mM), whereas the growth of the other strains, T. weissflogii and A. coffeiformi, were visibly inhibited at high ammonium concentrations (>1.4 mM-NH4). However, two strains of T. weissflogii were able to grow at up to 10 mM-NH4 by gradually acclimating to higher ammonium concentrations. The ammonium tolerant strains, especially T. weissflogii which have high EPA contents, were identified as a valuable candidate for biomass production utilizing NH4-N media, such as ammonium-rich wastewater.
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