Complementary limiting factors of astaxanthin synthesis during photoautotrophic induction of Haematococcus pluvialis: C/N ratio and light intensity

C. D. Kang, J. S. Lee, T. H. Park, Sang Jun Sim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the effect of carbon/nitrogen (C/N) ratio on astaxanthin synthesis in Haematococcus pluvialis during photoautotrophic induction by continuous input of both CO2-air mixture and intense light. When H. pluvialis was induced by constant irradiance induction at 200 μmol photon m-2 s-1, there was a positive correlation with astaxanthin content and C/N ratio, which was similar to the case for heterotrophic induction. Lower C/N ratios did not retard Haematococcus encystment, but did increase culture biomass, resulting in a decrease in astaxanthin production because of light limitation. However, induction using variable irradiance showed that reduction of astaxanthin production at low C/N ratios was successfully overcome by simply increasing the light intensity from 200 to 300 μmol photon m-2 s-1 to overcome the light limitation. This resulted in a greatly enhanced astaxanthin synthesis in proportion to cell density in cultures with low C/N ratios. Our results indicate that light intensity is more critical than C/N ratio in astaxanthin production by H. pluvialis during photoautotrophic induction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-994
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology
  • Bioengineering
  • Microbiology (medical)

Cite this