Re-Programing Glucose Catabolism in the Microalga Chlorella sorokiniana under Light Condition

Tingting Li, Na Pang, Lian He, Yuan Xu, Xinyu Fu, Yinjie Tang, Yair Shachar-Hill, Shulin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The microalga Chlorella sorokiniana has attracted much attention for lipid production and wastewater treatment. It can perform photosynthesis and organic carbon utilization concurrently. To understand its phototrophic metabolism, a biomass compositional analysis, a13C metabolic flux analysis, and metabolite pool size analyses were performed. Under dark condition, the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (OPP) was the major route for glucose catabolism (88% carbon flux) and a cyclic OPP–glycolytic route for glucose catabolism was formed. Under light condition, fluxes in the glucose catabolism, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and anaplerotic reaction (CO2 fixation via phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase) were all suppressed. Meanwhile, the RuBisCO reaction became active and the ratio of its carbon fixation to glucose carbon utilization was determined as 7:100. Moreover, light condition significantly reduced the pool sizes of sugar phosphate metabolites (such as E4P, F6P, and S7P) and promoted biomass synthesis (which reached 0.155 h−1). In addition, light condition increased glucose consumption rates, leading to higher ATP and NADPH production and a higher protein content (43% vs. 30%) in the biomass during the exponential growth phase.

Original languageEnglish
Article number939
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • C-MFA
  • Chlorella sorokiniana
  • heterotrophic
  • microalgae
  • mixotrophic
  • pool size


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