Stress state of microalgal cells is caused under unfavorable conditions such as disordered light regime and depleted nitrogen. The stress state can impair photosynthetic efficiency, inhibit cell growth and result in the accumulation of triacylglycerol (TAG) from protective mechanisms. Continuous light or nitrogen starvation was applied on microalgae and performed effectively on inducing TAG production. To evaluate the light regime effect on inducing TAG production, the effect of different light regimes on nitrogen-starved Isochrysis zhangjiangensis was investigated in this work. The continuous light and nitrogen starvation elevated TAG content of biomass by 73% and 193%, respectively. Furthermore, the TAG accumulation of I. zhangjiangensis cell under nitrogen starvation decreased under aggravated stress from continuous illumination. Our results demonstrated that culturing the cells with 14L: 10D light regime under nitrogen starvation is the optimal mode to achieve maximal accumulation of TAG. A recovery in light regime was necessary for I. zhangjiangensis cultivation.