- The effects of light and nitrogen deficiency on biomass, fatty acid content and composition were studied in Parietochloris incisa, the unicellular freshwater chlorophyte accumulating very high amounts of arachidonic-acid-rich triacylglycerols. P. incisa cultures grown on complete nutrient medium and under high light (400μmol photons m− 2 s−1) showed the highest rate of growth in comparison to medium (200μmol photons m−2 s−1) and low (35μmol photons m−2 s−1) light intensity. Cultures grown under high light (on complete BG-11 medium) attained higher volumetric contents of total fatty acids and arachidonic acid due to greater increase in biomass. Nitrogen starvation brought about a strong increase in the arachidonic acid proportion of total fatty acids. Thus, adjustments to cultivation conditions could serve as an efficient tool for manipulation of yield and relative content of arachidonic acid in P. incisa. The significance of the changes in lipid metabolism for adaptation of P. incisa to high-light stress and nitrogen deficiency is also discussed.