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Open AccessArticle

Food Modulation Controls Astaxanthin Accumulation in Eggs of the Sea Urchin Arbacia lixula

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli-Istituto Nazionale di Biologia, Ecologia e Biotecnologie Marine, Villa Comunale, 80121 Naples, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Mar. Drugs 2018, 16(6), 186;
Received: 17 April 2018 / Revised: 23 May 2018 / Accepted: 26 May 2018 / Published: 28 May 2018
The carotenoid astaxanthin has strong antioxidant properties with beneficial effects for various degenerative diseases. This carotenoid is produced by some microalgae species when cultivated in particular conditions, and, interestingly, it is a predominant carotenoid in aquatic animals throughout a broad range of taxa. Recently, astaxanthin was detected in the eggs of the sea urchin Arbacia lixula in relevant concentrations when this organism was maintained in culture. These results have paved the way for deeper research into astaxanthin production by this species, particularly in regards to how astaxanthin production can be modulated by diet. Results showed that the highest content of astaxanthin in eggs was observed in sea urchins fed on a diet enriched with Spirulina platensis. This result was confirmed by the high antioxidant activity recorded in the egg extracts of these animals. Our results suggest that (i) the sea urchin A. lixula is able to synthesize astaxanthin from precursors obtained from food, and (ii) it is possible to modulate the astaxanthin accumulation in sea urchin eggs by modifying the proportions of different food ingredients provided in their diet. This study demonstrates the large potential of sea urchin cultivation for the eco-sustainable production of healthy supplements for nutraceutical applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: food enrichment; aquaculture; nutraceutical; astaxanthin; Arbacia lixula food enrichment; aquaculture; nutraceutical; astaxanthin; Arbacia lixula
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Galasso, C.; Orefice, I.; Toscano, A.; Vega Fernández, T.; Musco, L.; Brunet, C.; Sansone, C.; Cirino, P. Food Modulation Controls Astaxanthin Accumulation in Eggs of the Sea Urchin Arbacia lixula. Mar. Drugs 2018, 16, 186.

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