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Carotenoids are lipophilic pigments found in plants and algae, as well as some bacteria, archaea, and fungi that serve two functions—(1) as light harvesting molecules—primary carotenoids, and (2) as antioxidants, acting against reactive oxygen species–secondary carotenoids. Because of their strong antioxidant properties, they are also valuable for the development of anti-aging and photo-protective cosmetic applications. Of particular interest is the carotenoid phytoene, for its colorless and UV absorption characteristics. In this study, we targeted a reduction of phytoene desaturase (PDS) activity with the pigment-inhibiting herbicide 1-methyl-3-phenyl-5-[3- (trifluoromethyl)phenyl]pyridin-4-one (fluridone), which leads to the over-accumulation of phytoene in the recently characterized microalgal strain Chlorococcum sp. (UTEX B 3056). After post-incubation with fluridone, phytoene levels were measured at ~33 ug/mg cell tissue, as opposed to non-detectable levels in control cultures. Hence, the novel microalga Chlorococcum sp. is a viable candidate for the production of the high-value carotenoid phytoene and subsequent applications in cosmeceuticals, as well as more obvious nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications.


This article was originally published in Marine Drugs, available at DOI:10.3390/md17030187.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license.



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