Abstract The lipid and pigment pattern of the chaetophoralean green alga Fritschiella tuberosa was studied during different growth periods. Four phases in axenic batch culture are observed. The first phase commences at the end of logarithmic growth and results in a decrease of phosphatidyl inositol and hexadecatetraenoic acid.The second phase coincides with the end of linear growth and is characterized by a decrease in glycolipids, phospholipids and α-linolenic acid, and an increase of linoleic and oleic acid. The third phase starts with the beginning of the stationary phase. During this time glycolipids, phospholipids, and α-linolenic acid decrease and oleic acid, linoleic acid and triacylglycerol increase. The fourth phase begins about one week after the onset of the stationary growth phase. A marked accumulation of triacylglycerol took place, secondary carotenoids were detectable and the long filamentous cells of Fritschiella changed into slightly rotund short cells.