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Rapid selection of astaxanthin-hyperproducing Haematococcus mutant via azide-based colorimetric assay combined with oil-based astaxanthin extraction

Hong, Min Eui, Choi, Hong Il, Kwak, Ho Seok, Hwang, Sung-Won, Sung, Young Joon, Chang, Won Seok, Sim, Sang Jun
Bioresource technology 2018 v.267 pp. 175-181
Haematococcus, astaxanthin, biosynthesis, colorimetry, culture media, microalgae, mutants, screening, sodium azide, soybeans, vegetative growth
The aim of this work was to develop a new approach for simple and high-throughput selection of astaxanthin-hyperproducing Haematococcus mutants through a sequential combination method of azide-based colorimetric assessment and oil-based astaxanthin quantification. Randomly mutagenized cells were spotted on solid culture medium containing 50 µM of sodium azide to accelerate the biosynthesis of astaxanthin. After 3 days, highly-induced mutants were preliminarily isolated by visual inspection and their astaxanthin accumulations were rapidly quantified by soybean oil-based extraction method. On the whole, the selected mutants showed reduced vegetative growth rates but eventually exhibited higher astaxanthin productions than the parental strain owing to their improved inductive growths. Among them, M13 showed 174.7 ± 5.69 mg L−1 of the highest astaxanthin production, which is 1.59-times higher than that of wild-type. This wide-scope screening method expedites both upstream and downstream astaxanthin quantification, making it a useful tool for isolating microalgae with high astaxanthin production.