The halotolerant photoautotrophic marine microalga Dunaliella salina
is one of the richest sources of natural carotenoids. Here we investigated the effects of high intensity blue, red and white light from light emitting diodes (LED) on the production of carotenoids by strains of D. salina
under nutrient sufficiency and strict temperature control favouring growth. Growth in high intensity red light was associated with carotenoid accumulation and a high rate of oxygen uptake. On transfer to blue light, a massive drop in carotenoid content was recorded along with very high rates of photo-oxidation. In high intensity blue light, growth was maintained at the same rate as in red or white light, but without carotenoid accumulation; transfer to red light stimulated a small increase in carotenoid content. The data support chlorophyll absorption of red light photons to reduce plastoquinone in photosystem II, coupled to phytoene desaturation by plastoquinol:oxygen oxidoreductase, with oxygen as electron acceptor. Partitioning of electrons between photosynthesis and carotenoid biosynthesis would depend on both red photon flux intensity and phytoene synthase upregulation by the red light photoreceptor, phytochrome. Red light control of carotenoid biosynthesis and accumulation reduces the rate of formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) as well as increases the pool size of anti-oxidant.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited