We measured the growth of and lipid production by the model microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii under different phototrophic, heterotrophic, and mixotrophic conditions to determine the optimal conditions for growth and biodiesel production. In particular, we examined cell growth and yield of fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) when C. reinhardtii was cultured in the presence of different organic carbon sources (acetate, glucose, glycerol, and sucrose). C. reinhardtii grew under various conditions, but mixotrophic cultivation was best. The greatest biomass production (2.15 g L-1 in 5 days) and FAME yield (16.41% of biomass) were observed under mixotrophic cultivation with acetate (10 g L-1). As an alternative to acetate, we additionally tested the use of volatile fatty acids (VFAs; acetic, propionic, and butyric acids), which can be inexpensively produced through fermentation of food waste. The highest FAME yield (19.02% of biomass) and biomass production (2.05 g L-1 in 5 days) were obtained with 5 g L-1 of VFAs. This result indicates that VFAs can serve as an inexpensive alternative carbon source for maximizing lipid production in mixotrophic cultivation of C. reinhardtii.