Mammalian cell cultivation using nutrients extracted from microalgae

Yuta Okamoto, Yuji Haraguchi*, Naoya Sawamura, Toru Asahi, Tatsuya Shimizu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Mammalian cells have been used in various research fields. More recently, cultured cells have been used as the cell source of “cultured meat.” Cell cultivation requires media containing nutrients, of which glucose and amino acids are the essential ones. These nutrients are generally derived from grains or heterotrophic microorganisms, which also require various nutrients derived from grains. Grain culture, in turn, requires many chemical fertilizers and agrochemicals, which can cause greenhouse gas emission and environmental contamination. Furthermore, grain production is greatly influenced by environmental changes. In contrast, microalgae efficiently synthesize various nutrients using solar energy, water, and inorganic substances, which are widely used in the energy sector. In this study, we aimed to apply nutrients extracted from microalgae in the culture media for mammalian cell cultivation. Glucose was efficiently extracted from Chlorococcum littorale or Arthrospira platensis using sulfuric acid, whereas 18 of the 20 proteinogenic amino acids were efficiently extracted from Chlorella vulgaris using hydrochloric acid. We further investigated whether nutrients present in the algal extracts could be used in mammalian cell cultivation. Although almost all C2C12 mouse myoblasts died during cultivation in a glucose- and amino acid-free medium, the cell death was rescued by adding algal extract(s) into the nutrient-deficient media. This indicates that nutrients present in algal extracts can be used for mammalian cell cultivation. This study is the first step toward the establishment of a new cell culture system that can reduce environmental loads and remain unaffected by the impact of environmental changes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2941
JournalBiotechnology Progress
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 1


  • acidic hydrolysis
  • amino acids
  • glucose
  • mammalian cell culture
  • microalgae
  • nutrients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology


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