Astaxanthin, a carotenoid pigment found in several aquatic organisms, is responsible for the red colour of salmon, trout and crustaceans. In this study, astaxanthin production from freshwater microalga Chlorella sorokiniana and marine microalga Tetraselmis sp. was investigated. Cell growth and astaxanthin production were determined spectrophotometrically at 620 and 480 nm, respectively. Astaxanthin was extracted using acetone and measured subsequent to biomass removal. Aerated conditions favoured astaxanthin production in C. sorokiniana, whereas Tetraselmis sp. was best cultured under unaerated conditions. C. sorokiniana produced more astaxanthin with the highest yield reached at 7.83 mg/l in 6.0 mM in nitrate containing medium compared to Tetraselmis sp. which recorded the highest yield of only 1.96 mg/l in 1.5 mM nitrate containing medium. Production in C. sorokiniana started at the early exponential phase, indicating that astaxanthin may be a growth-associated product in this microalga. Further optimization of astaxanthin production was performed using C. sorokiniana through a 2(3) full factorial experimental design, and a yield of 8.39 mg/l was achieved. Overall, the study has shown that both microalgae are capable of producing astaxanthin. Additionally, this research has highlighted C. sorokiniana as a potential astaxanthin producer that could serve as a natural astaxanthin source in the current market.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.