The role of extracellular fatty acids in the interference between two algae, Chlorella vulgaris Beijerink and Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata (Korshikov) Hindak, was assessed by the co-cultivation of the two selected strains, as well as by the chemical analysis of exudates from the culture media of single strain cultures. The effect of culture age and phosphate limitation was evaluated. The experiments showed that the composition and amount of fatty acids, released by C. vulgaris and by P. subcapitata, both in a batch and in a continuous monoculture, depend on the culture age and on the phosphate concentration in the culture medium. We also found that the amount of chlorellin generated in the two algae co-culture increased and was almost exclusively constituted by a mixture of C18 fatty acids. By using the evaluated concentrations of these fatty acids, an artificial chlorellin was prepared. The toxicity of this mixture to P. subcapitata appears to be similar to that of the natural chlorellin. For both algae, a stimulation of growth was observed at low concentrations of the natural chlorellin, whereas higher concentrations produced inhibitory effects on both species. However, P. subcapitata was much more sensitive than C. vulgaris. By using some of these new experimental results, two new mathematical models have been used to describe the toxicity of chlorellin to C. vulgaris and to the interference between C. vulgaris and P. subcapitata, respectively.
- Chlorella vulgaris
- Fatty acids
- Mathematical model
- Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata