Botanikai Közlemények

  Journal of the Botanical Section of the Hungarian Biological Society

< 2016

Botanikai Közlemények 103(1): 153–171 (2016)
DOI: 10.17716/BotKozlem.2016.103.1.153


The role of Chlamydomonas green alga genus in biotechnology and its place in the system of green algae




1Institute of Plant Biology, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of West Hungary, H-9200 Mosonmagyaróvár, Lucsony str. 15-17.;

2University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Biological Sciences, Pietermaritzburg Campus, 3209 Scottsville, Private Bag X 01, South African Republic


Accepted: 25 February 2016


Key words: biotechnology, Chlamydomonas, green algae, phylogenetics, polyphasic approach, taxonomy


Chlamydomonas is one of the biggest green algal genera with more than 800 described species. Approximately 400 strains are available in collections and applicable for research purposes. Referring to the versatility of genus Chlamydomonas, it is applied on scientific fields such as genetics, photosynthesis research, UV-resistance issues, possibilities of biogas and biodiesel production, hormone research, agriculture and medicine. The green alga genus Chlamydomonas is traditionally classified according to morphological characteristics in the vegetative stage of the life cycle. Essential features of the genus are the two anterior flagella of equal length and the single chloroplast containing one or more pyrenoids. Since the 1990s, the use of molecular markers for phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the morphological approach is appropriate neither for most green algae, nor for the genus Chlamydomonas. Most green alga genera are polyphyletic, so their status and species number require further revision. The latest trend is the polyphasic approach which combines different methods like morphology, citology, ultrastructural and molecular biological studies. Morphologists on the side of traditional taxonomy register more than 800 Chlamydomonas species, however this amount will likely decrease to 100-150 Chlamydomonas species by using a polyphasic approach.


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