Alternative protein sources for the reduction/replacement of fish meal in aqua-feeds are in urgent demand. Microalgae are considered sustainable protein sources for aquaculture due to their high-quality proteins with a complete profile of essential amino acids. This study examined the heterotrophic production of proteins from Chlorella sorokiniana SU-9. Culture parameters for maximal biomass and protein production are as follows: glucose – 10 g/L glucose, sodium nitrate – 1.5 g/L, and iron – 46 μM iron in BG-11 medium. Under optimal conditions, biomass content, protein content and protein productivity of SU-9 reached 4.14 ± 0.20 g/L, 403 ± 33 mg/g and 382 ± 36 mg/L/d, respectively. The protein profile of Chlorella sorokiniana SU-9 is comparable to fishmeal and soybean meal. The essential amino acids arginine, lysine and cysteine, along with glutamine and glutamate, were high. The production cost of SU-9 can be significantly reduced under heterotrophic cultivation conditions, making it a potential protein substitute in aquafeed.
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