Natural carotenoids such as astaxanthin, ß,ß-carotene and lutein are pigments with a high market value. We studied the effects of nitrogen depletion on the carotenoid metabolism of Chlorella zofingiensis (Chlorophyta) and the subsequent treatment with diphenylamine (DPA), an inhibitor of the biosynthesis of secondary ketocarotenoids. Pigments were identified and quantified based on reversed phase ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography photodiode array tandem mass spectrometry (RP-UHPLC-PDA-MSn). Nitrogen depletion (without DPA) resulted in a degradation of chlorophylls and primary carotenoids and an accumulation of astaxanthin, ketolutein, canthaxanthin, adonixanthin and ß,ß-carotene. The DPA treatment decreased the overall production of ß,ß-carotene derivatives (sum of astaxanthin, canthaxanthin, echinenone and adonixanthin); however, the production of ketolutein and degradation of primary carotenoids were not modified. This suggests that the regulatory mechanisms controlling the flux towards ketolutein and primary carotenoids were not affected by the decreased levels of ß,ß-carotene derivatives. In addition, DPA increased production of the individual carotenoids, adonixanthin and echinenone. Insight into the regulation of microalgal carotenoid biosynthesis as demonstrated in this paper is essential when a large-scale carotenoid production process is to be optimised or a recombinant C. ofingiensis strain is to be designed with the intention of excessively producing primary or secondary carotenoids.
- alga haematococcus-pluvialis
- triacylglycerol accumulation