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J Biotechnol. 2001 Feb 23;85(3):289-95.

Lutein production by Muriellopsis sp. in an outdoor tubular photobioreactor.

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Instituto de Bioquímica Vegetal y Fotosíntesis, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas-Universidad de Sevilla, Centro de Investigaciones Científicas Isla de la Cartuja, Américo Vespucio, s/n, E-41092 Sevilla, Spain.


The effect of dilution rate, mixing and daily solar cycles on lutein and biomass productivity of the green unicellular alga Muriellopsis sp. has been studied, throughout the year, in an outdoor tubular photobioreactor. Highest productivity values, for both lutein (about 180 mg m(-2) per day) and biomass (about 40 g (dry weight) m(-2) per day) were achieved on May and July. Values for the optimal dilution rate varied, being lower in May (0.06 h(-1)) than in November (0.09 h(-1)). Similar values for photosynthetic efficiency (about 4%) were recorded throughout the year, indicating that optimization of culture conditions was achieved for each experimental period. Along the daily solar cycle, there was a fast increase of lutein content of Muriellopsis sp. in response to irradiance during the early hours of daytime, with maximal lutein content (about 6 mg (g dry weight)(-1)) being recorded at noon, and decreasing slowly, thereafter. An increase in cell growth was observed following the establishment of maximum lutein/chlorophyll ratio, which might indicate a role for lutein in protecting cells from photodamage.

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