119 Chlamydomonas

  • Chlamydomonas, a genus of green algae comprising of 459 species categorised into 9 morphological groups (Harris, 2001).
  • Chlamydomonas is an important model for studies in fundamental processes such as photosynthesis, motility, responses to stimuli such as light, and cell-cell recognition.
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardi is the most commonly studied species of Chlamydomonas of which the sequencing of the nuclear genome was done in 2007 by Merchant et al. 
  • Currently, SBC’s microalgae library has a total of 8 locally isolated Chlamydomonas sp.

Natural Habitat

  • Chlamydomonas strains are generally found in various habitats of freshwater and marine worldwide.
  • In SBC's microalgae library, it is specifically found in freshwater habitat.
  • SBC’s strains were isolated from the following natural habitats:
    • Freshwater
    • Brackish
    • Marine
    • Pond
Division  No. of Strains 
Kuching  18
Miri  3
Serian  4
Samarahan  5
Total  30


  • Size (nm)
    • Ranged from 10 to 30 µm.
    • The Chlamydomonas strains in the SBC's microalgae library ranged from 10 to 20 µm in diameter.
  • Flagella
    • Two anterior flagella which are 10 to 12 µm in length (Harris, 2001).
  • Motile
    • Yes
  • Shape
    • Generally spherical or slightly cylindrical (Guiry et al, 2007).
  • Any other published scientific info
    • The cell wall is made up of a glycoprotein that is similar to extensions from a plant (Harris, 2001).
    • A single cup-shaped chloroplast which might surround one or more pyrenoids (Harris, 2001).
    • Mitochondria are seen scattered throughout the cytosol as elongated or branching structure (Harris, 2001).
    • The eyespot is located inside the chloroplast membrane and appears as bright orange due to the presence of carotenoid (Harris, 2001).

Algae Bioeconomy/Industry

  • Pigment/ Animal feed/aquafeed
    • According to Lohr (2009), Chlamydomonas sp. produces major carotenoids such as β-carotene, violaxanthin, neoxanthin, lutein, and loroxanthin when growing under low to moderate light conditions. These carotenoid compounds could be an important pigment source in the food industry as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status is achieved (Prakash and Gupta, 2014).
    • β-Carotene which is used in the food industry is a precursor of vitamin A, natural colorant, and an antioxidant. It has health-benefiting functions in the prevention of serious health disorders such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, muscular degeneration (Goindi et al., 2016).
    • Canthaxanthin, astaxanthin and lutein are widely used pigments in feed ingredients for salmonid fish, trout and poultry, aiming to boost the reddish colour of the fish or yellowish colour of egg yolk (Guerin et al., 2003; Cysewski et al., 2004; Plaza et al., 2009).
  • Bio-remediation
    • Hasan and team (2014) have proven that the Chlamydomonas sp. was able to grow under swine wastewater and produced a variety of medium-chain-length fatty acids.
  • Bio-fuel
    • In researches/studies, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has been the main model in understanding complex algal lipid metabolisms where researchers found that the wild type and mutants of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii produced significant amount of oil depending on nitrogen and salt levels in the growth media (Wang et al., 2009; Li et al., 2010; Work et al., 2010).
  • Biohydrogen
    • Chlamydomonas was among the microalgae commonly employed to produce hydrogen through hydrogenase activity (Hoshino, et al., 2013; Baltz et al., 2015; Bhalamurugan et al., 2018).
  • Pharmaceutical
    • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was reported widely as one of the most important microalgae employed in manufacturing pharmaceutical proteins including erythropoietin, interferon β insulin and immunoglobin A. (Yan, et al., 2016; Scaife et al., 2015).
    • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii under the condition lacking sulphur was used to produce glycerol, a compound widely used in the pharmaceutical industries. (Skjånes et al., 2013; Santhose et al., 2016).


Bhalamurugan, G. L., Valerie, O. and Mark, L. (2018). Valuable bioproducts obtained from microalgal biomass and their commercial applications: A review. Environmental Engineering Research, 23(3), 229 – 241

Baltz, A., Dang, K.-V., Beyly, A., Auroy, P., Richaud, P., Cournac, L., Peltier, G. (2014). Plastidial expression of Type II NAD(P)H dehydrogenase increases the reducing state of plastoquinones and hydrogen photoproduction rate by the indirect pathway in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Plant Physiology,165, 1344–1352.

Goindi, S., Kaur, A., Kaur, R., Kalra, A. and Chauhan, P. (2016). 19-Nanoemulsions: an emerging technology in the food industry. Nanotechnology in the Agri-Food Industry, 3, 651-688. DOI:

Cysewski, G.R. and Lorenz, R.T. (2004). Industrial production of microalgal cell-mass and secondary products—species of high potential: Haematococcus. In: Richmond A, editor. Handbook of Microalgal Culture, Biotechnology and Applied Phycology. Blackwell Science; Oxford, UK. pp. 281–288.

Goindi, S., Kaur, A., Kaur, R., Kalra, A. and Chauhan, P. (2016). 19-Nanoemulsions: an emerging technology in the food industry. Nanotechnology in the Agri-Food Industry, 3, 651-688.

Guerin, M., Huntley, M.E. and Olaizola, M. (2003). Haematococcus astaxanthin: applications for human health and nutrition. Trends Biotechnology, 21, 210–215.

Guiry, M.D., John, D.M. Rindi, F. and McCarthy, T.K. (ed) 2007. New survey of Clare Island. Volume 6. The Freshwater and Terrestrial Algae. Royal Irish Academy.

Harris, E. H. (2001). Chlamydomonas as a model organism. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology. 52, 363-406.

Hasan, R., Zhang, B., Wang, L. and Shahbazi. (2014). Bioremediation of swine wastewater and biofuel potential by using Chlorella vulgaris, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, and Chlamydomonas debaryana. Journal of Petroleum and Environmental Biotechnology, 5, 175.

Li, Y., Han, D., Hu, G., Dauvillee, D., Sommerfeld, M., Ball, S. and Hu, Q. (2010). Chlamydomonas starchless mutant defective in ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase hyper-accumulates triacylglycerol. Metabolic Engineering. 12, 387–391.

Lohr, M. (2009). Chapter 21: Carotenoids. In Stern, D.B. and Harris, E. H. (2nd Eds.), The Chlamydomonas Sourcebook Amsterdam. The Netherlands: Academic Press.  pp.799-817.

Merchant, S.S., Prochnik, S.E., Vallon, O., Harris, E.H., Karpowicz, S.J., Witman, G.B., Terry, A., Salamov, A., Fritz-Laylin, L.K., Maréchal-Drouard, L., Marshall, W.F., Qu, L.H., Nelson, D.R., Sanderfoot, A.A., Spalding, M.H., Kapitonov, V.V., Ren, Q., Ferris, P., Lindquist, E., Shapiro, H., Lucas, S.M., Grimwood, J., Schmutz, J., Cardol, P., Cerutti, H., Chanfreau, G., Chen, C.L., Cognat, V., Croft, M.T., Dent, R., Dutcher, S., Fernández, E., Fukuzawa, H., González-Ballester, D., González-Halphen, D., Hallmann, A., Hanikenne, M., Hippler, M., Inwood, W., Jabbari, K., Kalanon, M., Kuras, R., Lefebvre, P.A., Lemaire, S.D., Lobanov, A.V., Lohr, M., Manuell, A., Meier, I., Mets, L., Mittag, M., Mittelmeier, T., Moroney, J.V., Moseley, J., Napoli, C., Nedelcu, A.M., Niyogi, K., Novoselov, S.V., Paulsen, I.T., Pazour, G., Purton, S., Ral, J.P., Riaño-Pachón, D.M., Riekhof, W., Rymarquis, L., Schroda, M., Stern, D., Umen, J., Willows, R., Wilson, N., Zimmer, S.L., Allmer, J., Balk, J., Bisova, K., Chen, C.J., Elias, M., Gendler, K., Hauser, C., Lamb, M.R., Ledford, H., Long, J.C., Minagawa, J., Page, M.D., Pan, J., Pootakham, W., Roje, S., Rose, A., Stahlberg, E., Terauchi, A.M., Yang, P., Ball, S., Bowler, C., Dieckmann, C.L., Gladyshev, V.N., Green, P., Jorgensen, R., Mayfield, S., Mueller-Roeber, B., Rajamani, S., Sayre, R.T., Brokstein, P., Dubchak, I., Goodstein, D., Hornick, L., Huang, Y.W., Jhaveri, J., Luo, Y., Martínez, D., Ngau, W.C., Otillar, B., Poliakov, A., Porter, A., Szajkowski, L., Werner, G., Zhou, K., Grigoriev, IV., Rokhsar, D.S., Grossman, A.R. (2007). The Chlamydomonas genome reveals the evolution of key animal and plant functions. Science,318 (5848): 245-250.

Plaza, M., Herrero, M., Cifuentes, A. and Ibáñez, E. (2009). Innovative natural functional ingredients from microalgae. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, 57, 7159–7170.

Prakash, D. and Gupta, C. (2014). Carotenoids: chemistry and health benefits. Phytochemicals of Nutraceutical Importance, 181-195.

Santhosh, S., Dhandapani, R. and Hemalatha, N. (2016).  Bioactive compounds from microalgae and its different applications – A review. Advances in Applied Science Research, 7, 153-158.

Scaife,  M.A., Nguyen, J., Rico, D., Lambert, K., Helliwell, E., and Smith, A.G (2015). Establishing Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as an industrial biotechnology host. Plant Journal. 82,532-546.

Skjånes, K., Rebours, C. and Lindblad, P. (2013).  Potential for green microalgae to produce hydrogen, pharmaceuticals and other high value products in a combined process. Critical Review in Biotechnology, 33, 172-215.

Wang, Z.T., Ullrich, N., Joo, S. and Waffenschmidt, S. (2009). Algal lipid bodies: stress induction, purification, and biochemical characterization in wild-type and starchless Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Eukaryotic Cell, 8, 1856–1868.

Work, V.H., Radakovits, R., Jinkerson, R.E. and Meuser, J.E. (2010). Increased lipid accumulation in the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii sta7–10 starchless isoamylase mutant and increased carbohydrate synthesis in complemented strains. Eukaryotic Cell, 9, 1251–1261.

Yan, N., Fan, C., Chen, Y. and Hu, Z. (2016). The potential for microalgae as bioreactors to produce pharmaceuticals. International Journal of Molecular Science, 17,1-24.


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