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Astaxanthin production by a highly photosensitive Haematococcus mutant

Hong, Min-Eui, Choi, Seung Phill, Park, Youn-Il, Kim, Young-Kee, Chang, Won Seok, Kim, Byung Woo, Sim, Sang Jun
Process biochemistry 2012 v.47 no.12 pp. 1972-1979
Haematococcus pluvialis, astaxanthin, biomass, carbon dioxide, energy costs, heterotrophs, isolation techniques, mutagenesis, mutants, photoinhibition, photosensitivity, photosystem II, solar radiation
Haematococcus pluvialis synthesizes a high yield of astaxanthin using CO₂ in a photoautotrophic culture without contaminant heterotrophs; however, it takes too long to induce astaxanthin production. In this study, a highly photosensitive mutant strain was attained by conventional random mutagenesis and an efficient isolation method to shorten induction time. Sensitivity to photoinhibition in this mutant was raised by a partial lesion in the photosystem II (PSII) of photosynthesis, thereby prompting a change in cellular morphology as well as stimulating carotenogenesis (astaxanthin production). As a result, the concentrations of cell biomass and astaxanthin were dramatically increased by 27% and 62% under strong light and 79% and 153% under moderate light, respectively. This Haematococcus mutant would be useful for the economical astaxanthin production capable of reducing the light energy cost in a photoautotrophic culture system, even in areas with insufficient sunlight.