Twelve microalgae species isolated in tropical lagoons of New Caledonia were screened as a new source of antioxidants. Microalgae were cultivated at two light intensities to investigate their influence on antioxidant capacity. To assess antioxidant property of microalgae extracts, four assays with different modes of action were used: 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), 2,2’-azino-bis (3-éthylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonique) (ABTS), oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), and thiobabituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). This screening was coupled to pigment analysis to link antioxidant activity and carotenoid content. The results showed that none of the microalgae studied can scavenge DPPH and ABTS radicals, but Chaetoceros
sp., and Nitzschia
A sp. have the capacity to scavenge peroxyl radical (ORAC) and Tetraselmis
A sp., and Nephroselmis
sp. can inhibit lipid peroxidation (TBARS). Carotenoid composition is typical of the studied microalgae and highlight the siphonaxanthin, detected in Nephroselmis
sp., as a pigment of interest. It was found that xanthophylls were the major contributors to the peroxyl radical scavenging capacity measured with ORAC assay, but there was no link between carotenoids and inhibition of lipid peroxidation measured with TBARS assay. In addition, the results showed that light intensity has a strong influence on antioxidant capacity of microalgae: Overall, antioxidant activities measured with ORAC assay are better in high light intensity whereas antioxidant activities measured with TBARS assay are better in low light intensity. It suggests that different antioxidant compounds production is related to light intensity.
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