Astaxanthin production by a highly photosensitive Haematococcus mutant

Min Eui Hong, Seung Phill Choi, Youn Il Park, Young Kee Kim, Won Seok Chang, Byung Woo Kim, Sang Jun Sim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Haematococcus pluvialis synthesizes a high yield of astaxanthin using CO2 in a photoautotrophic culture without contaminant heterotrophs; however, it takes too long to induce astaxanthin production. In this study, a highly photosensitive mutant strain was attained by conventional random mutagenesis and an efficient isolation method to shorten induction time. Sensitivity to photoinhibition in this mutant was raised by a partial lesion in the photosystem II (PSII) of photosynthesis, thereby prompting a change in cellular morphology as well as stimulating carotenogenesis (astaxanthin production). As a result, the concentrations of cell biomass and astaxanthin were dramatically increased by 27% and 62% under strong light and 79% and 153% under moderate light, respectively. This Haematococcus mutant would be useful for the economical astaxanthin production capable of reducing the light energy cost in a photoautotrophic culture system, even in areas with insufficient sunlight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1972-1979
Number of pages8
JournalProcess Biochemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec


  • Astaxanthin
  • Haematococcus pluvialis
  • Photo-inducible mutant
  • Photo-sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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