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UV-A mediated induction of carotenoid accumulation in Dunaliella bardawil with retention of cell viability

Salguero, Alonso, León, Rosa, Mariotti, Annalisa, de la Morena, Benito, Vega, José M., Vílchez, Carlos
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2005 v.66 no.5 pp. 506-511
Dunaliella bardawil, antioxidants, beta-carotene, cell growth, cell viability, chlorophyll, lutein, microalgae, photons, photosynthesis, photosynthetically active radiation, protein content, ultraviolet radiation, zeaxanthin
The effect of adding UV-A radiation (320–400 nm) to photosynthetically active radiation (PAR, 400–700 nm) during growth of the photosynthetic marine microalga Dunaliella bardawil was investigated in this work in terms of cell growth and carotenoid production. Although signs of slow cell growth (slight reduction of chlorophyll and protein content) were observed after 24 h of cell exposure to UV-A (40 μmol photons m⁻² s⁻¹ and 70 μmol photons m⁻² s⁻¹) plus 140 μmol photons m⁻² s⁻¹ PAR , 84 h exposure to these UV-A conditions slightly stimulated cell growth and increased the photosynthetic efficiency of the exposed cultures. The enhanced cell growth was coupled with an increase in total carotenoid content. Besides β-carotene as the major pigment, increases in the well-known antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin of about 3-fold and 5-fold, respectively, were determined in cultures exposed to UV-A radiation of 70 μmol photons m⁻² s⁻¹for 84 h. As a consequence, far from being negative to cell growth, low and medium UV-A radiation are stress factors that could be successfully applied to long-term processes for large scale carotenoid production using D. bardawil cultures with retention of cell viability. UV-A exposure has the advantage of being a factor either easily applied or removed as required, in contrast to other nutrient stresses, which require medium replacement for their application.