Biocompatible liquid-type carbon nanodots (C-paints) as light delivery materials for cell growth and astaxanthin induction of Haematococcus pluvialis

Sun A. Choi, Yesul Jeong, Jiye Lee, Yang Hoon Huh, Sae Hae Choi, Hee Sik Kim, Dae Hyun Cho, Jin Suk Lee, Hyeran Kim, Ha Rim An, Suok Lee, Edmond Changkyun Park, Seung Wook Kim, Kyung Ran Hwang, Eunyoung Moon, You Kwan Oh, Hyun Uk Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of the application of biocompatible liquid type fluorescent carbon nanodots (C-paints) to microalgae by improving microalgae productivity. C-paints were prepared by a simple process of ultrasound irradiation using polyethylene glycol (PEG) as a passivation agent. The resulting C-paints exhibited a carbonyl-rich surface with good uniformity of particle size, excellent water solubility, photo-stability, fluorescence efficiency, and good biocompatibility (<10.0 mg mL 1 of C-paints concentration). In the practical application of C-paints to microalgae culture, the most effective and optimized condition leading to growth promoting effect was observed at a C-paints concentration of 1.0 mg mL 1 (>20% higher than the control cell content). A C-paints concentration of 1–10.0 mg mL 1 induced an approximately >1.8 times higher astaxanthin content than the control cells. The high light delivery effect of non-cytotoxic C-paints was applied as a stress condition for H. pluvialis growth and was found to play a major role in enhancing productivity. Notably, the results from this study are an essential approach to improve astaxanthin production, which can be used in various applications because of its therapeutic effects such as cancer prevention, anti-inflammation, immune stimulation, and treatment of muscle-soreness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110500
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr


  • Astaxanthin production
  • Biocompatibility
  • C-paints
  • Microalgae growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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