Scenedesmus sp.

  • Scenedesmus sp. are common freshwater green algae (An, 1999).
  • They are used as pollution indicator where they can adapt and grow well in polluted water or sewage. (Brettum & Andersen 2005 and Shubert et al., 2014).
  • Currently, SBC’s microalgae library has a total of 91 locally isolated Scenedesmus sp.

Natural Habitat

  • Scenedesmus are commonly found in fresh and brackish nutrient rich waters. (An et al., 1999).
  • SBC’s strains were isolated from freshwater environment.
  • Number of strains isolated in Sarawak:
Division  No, of Strains 
Kuching 67 
Miri 10
Bintulu 1
Total 91 


  • Size
    • Depending on the morphology: flat or slightly curved coenobia which composed of 2-32 cells that are linearly or laterally-arranged in 1 or 2 rows and usually surrounded by mucilage (Komare and Fott, 1983; Skaloud, 2008; Sakthivel, 2016). For example, Scenedesmus acutus which the size length (5 – 13 µm) and width (2.3 – 6 µm).
  • Flagella
    • Non flagella
  • Motile
    • Non motile
  • Shape
    • Diverse forms of morphology- linear, costulatoid, alternating, irregular or dactylococcoid (Lürling, 1999).
    • Spiny (Lürling, 1999).
    • Unicells or colonial (Lürling, 1999).
  • Any other published scientific info
    • Some strains appeared as spiny and the reproduction occurred through autospores formation (Lürling, 1999).

    • The formation of unicell or coenobial ectomorphs is affected by the cell density, availability of nutrients, pH, temperature or even presence of herbivorous zooplankton (Lurling, 1999). Lurling and Donk (1999) found that Scenedesmus sp. changed its morphology when exposed to biochemical released by grazer.

    • Scenedesmus sp. exists as unicellular during exponential growth to increase exposure to nutrient uptake and light. However, the presence of grazer will induce formation of coenobia to increase its overall size, to reduce vulnerability of cells against grazing (Lurling, 1999). The morphology changes could be the antipredative strategy to grazer.

Algae Bioeconomy/Industry

  • Pigment
    • Scenedesmus sp. commonly accumulates β-carotene, astaxanthin isomers, lutein and canthaxanathin when exposed to stress condition such as limited nitrogen availability (Burczyk et al., 1981; Ceron et al., 2008; Qin et al., 2008; Sanchez et al., 2008; Pirastru et al., 2012; Ho et al., 2014).

  • Nutraceutical
    • A review by Ishaq et al. (2016) indicated that children and adults fed with Scenedesmus obliquus showed an increase in body weight. Scenedesmus was shown to have antioxidant properties that might be utilized in nutraceutical industry (Ishaq et al., 2016).
  • PUFA production
    • Jena et al. (2012) reported that Scenedesmus sp. started to accumulate lipid at the early growth phase but accumulated highest content during stationary phase. Their PUFA which includes linolenic acid and oleic acid, represented 36.8% of total fatty acid.
  • Animal Feed
    • Scenedesmus sp. produces high protein content and fatty acids that makes it suitable to be incorporated into animal feed as source of nutrient (Ishaq et al., 2016, Apandi et al., 2017).
  • Cosmetic
    • Scenedesmus sp. produces carotenoid such as astaxanthin and β-carotene that function to protect skin against UV irradiation. The isolated compounds are used in cosmetic industry as thickening agents, water-binding agents and antioxidants in skin care products (Ishaq et al., 2016).
    • Scenedesmus sp. is used as additive ingredient in cosmetic product against sunlight. For example, PEPHA®-AGE is a product against bluelight (

  • Biofuel
    • The production of PUFA has made Scenedesmus sp. suitable for biodiesel production (Jena et al., 2012). Prabakaran and Ravindran (2012) reported that Scenedesmus sp. produced the highest amount of oleic acid which makes it good candidate for biodiesel production.
  • Biofertilizer
    • Renuka et al. (2015) reported that the consortia that consists of Scenedesmus sp., Chlorella sp., Chlorococcum sp. and Chloococcus sp. isolated from sewage, were used for wheat growing and showed highest plant dry weight during mid crop stage. This showed the potential of the microalgae to be used as biofertilizer in agricultural system.


An, S.S., Friedl, T. & Hegewald, E. (1999). Phylogenetic relationships of Scenedesmus and Scenedesmus-like coccoid green algae as inferred from ITS-2 rDNA sequence comparisons. Plant Biology, 1: 418-428.

Apandi, N.M., Mohamed, R.M.S.R., Latifi, N.A.A., Rozlan, N.F.M. & Al Gheeth, A.A.S. (2017). Paper presented at MATEC Web of Conference, Taiwan.

Brettum, P. & Andersen, T. (2005). The use of phytoplankton as indicators of water quality. The Research Council of Norway, Norway.

Burczyk, J., Szkawran, H., Zontek, I. & Czygan F. C. (1981). Carotenoids in
the outer cell-wall layer of Scenedesmus (Chlorophyceae). Planta, 151, 247–250. doi:10.1007/BF00395176.

Ceron, M. C., Campos, I., Sanchez, J. F., Acien, F. G., Molina, E. & Fernandez-Sevill. J. M.
(2008). Recovery of lutein from microalgae biomass: Development of a process for Scenedesmus almeriensis biomass. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 56,11761–11766. doi:10.1021/jf8025875.

Ho, S. H., Chan, M. C., Liu, C. C., Chen, C. Y., Lee, W. L., Lee, D. J. &.Chang., J. S. (2014). Enhancing lutein productivity of an indigenous microalga Scenedesmus obliquus FSP-3 using light-related strategies. Bioresource Technology, 152:275–282. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2013.11.031

Ishaq, A.G., Matias-Peralta, H.M. & Basri, H. (2016). Bioactive compounds from green microalga-Scenedesmus and its potential applications: A brief review. Pertanika Journal of Agricultural Science, 39,1-16.

Jena, J., Nayak, M., Panda, H.S., Pradhan, N., Sarika, C., Ku, P., Rao, B.V.S.K., Prasad, R.B.N. & Sukla, L.B. (2012). Microalgae of Odisha Coast as a potential source for biodiesel production. World Environment, 2(1), 11-16.

Komarek, J. & Fott, B. (1983). Chlorophyceae (Grunalgen) ordnung: Chloro coccales. In G. Huber-Pestalozzi, (Ed) Das Phytoplankton des Suswassers. Stuttgart, Germany, 1044.

Lürling, M. (1999). The smell of water: Grazer-induced colony formation in Scenedesmus. Thesis. Agricultural University of Wageningen.

Lürling, M. & Van Donk, E. (1999) Morphological changes in Scenedesmus induced by info chemicals released in situ from zooplankton grazers. Limnology and Oceanography, 42, 783-788.

Pirastru, L., Darwish, M., Chu, F. L., Perreault, F., Sirois, L., Sleno, L. & Popovic, R. (2012). Carotenoid production and change of photosynthetic functions in Scenedesmus sp. exposed to nitrogen limitation and acetate treatment. Journal of Applied Phycology. 24,117–124. doi:10.1007/s10811-011-9657-4.

Prabakaran, P. & Ravindran, A. D. (2012). Scenedesmus as a potential source of biodiesel among selected microalgae. Current Science. 102(4), 616-619.

Qin, S., Liu, G. X. & Hu, Z. Y. (2008). The accumulation and metabolism
of astaxanthin in Scenedesmus obliquus (Chlorophyceae). Process Biochemistry (Barking, UK). 43,795–802. doi:10.1016/j.procbio.2008.03.010

Renuka, N., Prasanna, R., Sood, A., Ahluwalia, A.S., Bansals, R., Babu, S., Singh, R., Shivay, Y. S. & Nain, L. (2015). Exploring the efficacy of wastewater-grown microalgal biomass as a biofertilizer for wheat. Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

Sakthivel, R. (2016). Biodiversity of Chrococcales (Chlorop hy ceae) from Cement Factories in and Around Areas of Ariyalur District, Tamil Nadu. European Journal of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Science. 3, 267-284.

Sanchez, J. F., Fernandez, J. M., Acien, F. G., Rueda, A., Perez-Parra, J.
and Molina, E. (2008). Influence of culture conditions on the productivity and lutein content of the new strain Scenedesmus almeriensis. Process Biochemistry (Barking, Uk). 43,398–405. doi:10.1016/j.procbio.2008.01.004

Shubert, E., Wilk-Woźniak, E. & Ligęza, S. (2014). An autecological investigation of Desmodesmus: implications for ecology and taxonomy. Plant Ecology Evolution, 147 (2), 202-212.

Skaloud, P., Neustup a, J.& Skaloudova, M . (2008). Species comp osition and diversity of algae on anthropogenic substrata. Novitates Botanicae Universitatis Carolinae. 19, 33-37.

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