Enhanced astaxanthin extraction efficiency from Haematococcus pluvialis via the cyst germination in outdoor culture systems

Yoon Young Choi, Min Eui Hong, Sang Jun Sim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Haematococcus pluvialis is the richest source of natural astaxanthin (3S, 3′S), but the rigid cell wall of mature red cyst (aplanospore) complicates the efficient extraction of astaxanthin from the strain. Herein, the cyst germination method was developed by using nitrate and light for practical application for an efficient astaxanthin extraction from Haematococcus cells cultured in outdoor condition where flue gas, solar radiation and photobioreactor were used. Notably, autotrophic germination rate was easily regulated by light intensity. Under conditions of low germination rate, total astaxanthin concentration was highly maintained and astaxanthin extraction efficiency was rapidly enhanced during autotrophic germination. As a result, under homogenization (30 s), the extracted astaxanthin concentration in the cells treated with 1 mM KNO3-150 μE/m2/s was highly increased by 58% compared to the cells treated without germination. Our technical solution will definitely improve an astaxanthin extraction titer with the practical application in outdoor Haematococcus culture system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2275-2280
Number of pages6
JournalProcess Biochemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the “Energy Efficiency & Resources Technology R&D” project (grant no. 20152010201900) of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) grant funded by the Korea government Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE) and supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) grants (grant no. NRF-2013R1A2A1A01015644/2010-0027955), University-Institute Cooperation Program (2013) and also supported by the Korea CCS R&D Center (KCRC) grant (grant no. 2014M1A8A1049278), funded by the Korean Government Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (MSIP). Special thanks are given to DrJaoon Young Hwan Kim for early discussions about this work which highly contributed to it and inspired its main idea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Astaxanthin
  • Cyst germination
  • Haematococcus pluvialis
  • Nitrate and solar radiation
  • Outdoor autotrophic culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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