Enhancement of co-production of nutritional protein and carotenoids in Dunaliella salina using a two-phase cultivation assisted by nitrogen level and light intensity

Yixing Sui, Maarten Muys, Dedmer B. Van de Waal, Sarah D'Adamo, Pieter Vermeir, Tânia V. Fernandes, Siegfried E. Vlaeminck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Microalga Dunaliella salina is known for its carotenogenesis. At the same time, it can also produce high-quality protein. The optimal conditions for D. salina to co-produce intracellular pools of both compounds, however, are yet unknown. This study investigated a two-phase cultivation strategy to optimize combined high-quality protein and carotenoid production of D. salina. In phase-one, a gradient of nitrogen concentrations was tested. In phase-two, effects of nitrogen pulse and high illumination were tested. Results reveal optimized protein quantity, quality (expressed as essential amino acid index EAAI)and carotenoids content in a two-phase cultivation, where short nitrogen starvation in phase-one was followed by high illumination during phase-two. Adopting this strategy, productivities of protein, EAA and carotenoids reached 22, 7 and 3 mg/L/d, respectively, with an EAAI of 1.1. The quality of this biomass surpasses FAO/WHO standard for human nutrition, and the observed level of β-carotene presents high antioxidant pro-vitamin A activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121398
JournalBioresource Technology
Volume287
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Food
  • Microalgae
  • Nitrogen limitation
  • Pigment
  • Single-cell protein

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