A cultivation system in the two-stage photoautotrophic-photoheterotrophic/mixotrophic mode was adapted to maximize lipid productivity of two freshwater strains of Chlorella sp. grown in brewery wastewater (BWW). The endogenous Chlorella sp. isolated from BWW had a higher growth rate than wild-type Chlorella vulgaris (UTEX-265) while C vulgaris (UTEX-265) had a higher maximal biomass and lipid contents than that of endogenous Chlorella sp., resulting in more than 90% of the inorganic nutrients in both total nitrogen (TN) and phosphorus (TP) was removed during the first stage in the two-stage photoautotrophic-photoheterotrophic mode in each Chlorella sp. The maximal biomass and lipid contents of C vulgaris (UTEX-265) for single stage photoautotrophic cultivation were 1.5 g/L and 18%, respectively. Importantly, during two-stage photoautotrophic photoheterotrophic cultivation for C vulgaris (UTEX-265), the biomass was increased to 3.5 g/L, and the lipid productivity was increased from 31.1 to 108.0 mg/L day. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.