Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Comprehensive GCMS and LC-MS/MS Metabolite Profiling of Chlorella vulgaris

Version 1 : Received: 6 June 2020 / Approved: 7 June 2020 / Online: 7 June 2020 (16:36:23 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.


The commercial cultivation of microalgae began in the 1960s and Chlorella was one of the first target organisms. The species has long been considered a potential source of renewable energy, an alternative for phytoremediation, and more recently, as a growth and immune stimulant. However, Chlorella vulgaris, which is one of the most studied microalga, has never been comprehensively profiled chemically. In the present study, comprehensive profiling of the Chlorella vulgaris metabolome grown under normal culture conditions was carried out, employing tandem LC-MS/MS to profile the ethanolic extract and GC-MS for fatty acid analysis. The fatty acid profile of C. vulgaris was shown to be rich in omega-6, -7, -9, and -13 fatty acids, with omega-6 being the highest, representing more than sixty percent (>60%) of the total fatty acids. This is a clear indication that this species of Chlorella could serve as a good source of nutrition when incorporated in diets. The profile also showed that the main fatty acid composition was that of C16-C18 (>92%), suggesting that it might be a potential candidate for biodiesel production. LC-MS/MS analysis revealed carotenoid constituents comprising violaxanthin, neoxanthin, lutein, β-carotene, vulgaxanthin I, astaxanthin, and antheraxanthin, along with other pigments such as the chlorophylls. In addition to these, amino acids, vitamins, and simple sugars were also profiled, and through mass spectrometry-based molecular networking, 48 phospholipids were putatively identified.


Chlorella vulgaris; biodiesel; phytoremediation; molecular networking; pigments


Chemistry and Materials Science, Organic Chemistry

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