LOW-TEMPERATURE-INDUCED SYNTHESIS OF α-CAROTENE IN THE MICROALGA DUNALIELLA SALINA (CHLOROPHYTA)

Authors

  • Sandra Orset,

    1. Carotenoid Research Group, School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Andrew J. Young

    1. Carotenoid Research Group, School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The microalga Dunaliella salina (Teo.) is well known as an accumulator of β-carotene (β,β-carotene) when subjected to growth-limiting conditions (e.g. exposure to high irradiances). In addition, the carotenoid α-carotene (β,ε-carotene) may also be synthesized and subsequently accumulated by this alga under specific growth conditions. The main factor in stimulating the synthesis of this carotene was determined to be exposure to lower than optimum temperatures for algal growth. A 7.5-fold increase in the levels of α-carotene was observed when the temperature was decreased from 34 to 17° C, whilst levels of β-carotene were unaltered. The accumulation of α-carotene was unaffected by irradiance, although its isomeric composition was greatly altered by light levels. The proportion of 9-cisα-carotene increased from 15% to 45% of total α-carotene when the irradiance was decreased from 260 to 50 μmol·m−2·s−1. Exposure to higher irradiances had little influence on the isomeric composition of this carotenoid. A reduction in growth temperature did not influence the isomeric composition of α-carotene. Nutrient status (nitrogen and phosphate) had no effect on either the content or isomeric composition of α-carotene accumulated by D. salina.

Ancillary