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Mar. Drugs 2014, 12(6), 3487-3515; doi:10.3390/md12063487

Chlorella zofingiensis as an Alternative Microalgal Producer of Astaxanthin: Biology and Industrial Potential

1
Institute for Food & Bioresource Engineering, College of Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
2
Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
3
College of Fisheries and Life Science, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai 201306, China
4
Department of Applied Sciences and Mathematics, Arizona State University Polytechnic campus, Mesa, AZ 85212, USA
5
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA
6
School of Food Science, Jiangnan University, Wuxi 214122, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 April 2014 / Revised: 18 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 10 June 2014
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Abstract

Astaxanthin (3,3′-dihydroxy-β,β-carotene-4,4′-dione), a high-value ketocarotenoid with a broad range of applications in food, feed, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical industries, has been gaining great attention from science and the public in recent years. The green microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis and Chlorella zofingiensis represent the most promising producers of natural astaxanthin. Although H. pluvialis possesses the highest intracellular astaxanthin content and is now believed to be a good producer of astaxanthin, it has intrinsic shortcomings such as slow growth rate, low biomass yield, and a high light requirement. In contrast, C. zofingiensis grows fast phototrophically, heterotrophically and mixtrophically, is easy to be cultured and scaled up both indoors and outdoors, and can achieve ultrahigh cell densities. These robust biotechnological traits provide C. zofingiensis with high potential to be a better organism than H. pluvialis for mass astaxanthin production. This review aims to provide an overview of the biology and industrial potential of C. zofingiensis as an alternative astaxanthin producer. The path forward for further expansion of the astaxanthin production from C. zofingiensis with respect to both challenges and opportunities is also discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: astaxanthin; Chlorella zofingiensis; fed-batch; genetic engineering; mass cultivation; microalgae; stress astaxanthin; Chlorella zofingiensis; fed-batch; genetic engineering; mass cultivation; microalgae; stress
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Liu, J.; Sun, Z.; Gerken, H.; Liu, Z.; Jiang, Y.; Chen, F. Chlorella zofingiensis as an Alternative Microalgal Producer of Astaxanthin: Biology and Industrial Potential. Mar. Drugs 2014, 12, 3487-3515.

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