Polyethylenimine linked with chitosan improves astaxanthin production in Haematococcus pluvialis

Jae Been Lee, Yun Hwan Park, Min Seo Jeon, Sok Kim, Yoon E. Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: Astaxanthin is receiving increasing interest as an antioxidant and high value-added secondary metabolite. Haematococcus pluvialis is the main source for astaxanthin production, and many studies are being conducted to increase the production of astaxanthin. In this study, we linked polyethylenimine (PEI) with chitosan to maintain astaxanthin-inducing ability while securing the recyclability of the inducer. Astaxanthin accumulation in H. pluvialis was induced to 86.4 pg cell−1 with the PEI-chitosan fiber (PCF) treatment prepared by cross-linking of 10 μM PEI and low molecular weight (MW) chitosan via epichlorohydrin. PEI concentration affected the astaxanthin accumulation, whereas the MW of chitosan did not. In addition, the PCF treatment in H. pluvialis increased the reactive oxygen species (ROS) content in cells, thereby upregulating the transcription of enzymes involved in astaxanthin biosynthesis. PCF can be reused multiple times with the maintenance of over 90% of the astaxanthin production efficiency. This study offers a reusable PCF stimulation strategy for enhancing natural astaxanthin content, and PCF treatment will easily increase the production scale or reduce production costs by using recyclability that is not available in current methods. Key points: • Polyethylenimine-chitosan fiber (PCF) was applied to Haematococcus pluvialis • PCF promotes astaxanthin accumulation by enhancing oxidative stress in H. pluvialis • PCF can be reused multiple times with maintaining over 90% production efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-580
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Astaxanthin
  • Chitosan
  • Haematococcus pluvialis
  • Polyethylenimine
  • Reusability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


Dive into the research topics of 'Polyethylenimine linked with chitosan improves astaxanthin production in Haematococcus pluvialis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this