Effect of red cyst cell inoculation and iron(II) supplementation on autotrophic astaxanthin production by Haematococcus pluvialis under outdoor summer conditions

Min Eui Hong, Yoon Young Choi, Sang Jun Sim

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22 Citations (Scopus)


The negative effect of heat stress on the autotrophic astaxanthin production by Haematococcus pluvialis has been observed during outdoor culture in summer. Under the summer conditions, the proliferation of vegetative cells was highly halted in the green stage and the inducibility in the biosynthesis of astaxanthin was partly hindered in the red stage. Herein, under outdoor summer conditions in which variations of the diurnal temperature occur, heat-stress-driven inefficient vegetative growth of H. pluvialis was highly improved by inoculating the red cyst cells; thereby, maintaining relatively moderate intracellular carotenoid levels in the green stage. Subsequently, a remarkably enhanced astaxanthin titer was successfully obtained by supplementing 50μM iron(II) to induce the heat stress-driven Haber-Weiss reaction in the red stage. As a result, the productivity of astaxanthin in the cells cultured under summer temperature conditions (23.4-33.5°C) using the two methods of red cell (cyst) inoculation and the iron(Fe2+) supplementation was increased by 147% up to 5.53 mg/L day compared with that of the cells cultured under spring temperature conditions (17.5-27.3°C). Our technical solutions will definitely improve the annual natural astaxanthin productivity in H. pluvialis in locations confronted by hot summer weather, particularly in large-scale closed photobioreactor systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 20



  • Astaxanthin
  • Haematococcus pluvialis
  • Iron(Fe) supplementation method
  • Photoautotrophic culture
  • Red cyst cell (aplanospore) inoculation method
  • Summer outdoor conditions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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