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J Phycol. 2008 Dec;44(6):1447-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2008.00596.x. Epub 2008 Nov 10.

PRODUCTION OF NATURAL BUTYLATED HYDROXYTOLUENE AS AN ANTIOXIDANT BY FRESHWATER PHYTOPLANKTON(1).

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1
Research Center for Biodiversity, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei 115, Taiwan Research Center for Biodiversity, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei 115, Taiwan Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan.

Abstract

Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is one of the synthetic antioxidant agents commonly used for food additives. In the present study, we determined that four freshwater phytoplankton, including a green alga (Botryococcus braunii Kütz.) and three cyanobacteria [Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii (Wolłosz.) Seenaya et Sabba Raju, Microcystis aeruginosa (Kütz.) and Oscillatoria sp.] were capable of producing this compound. Hexane extracts from all the studied species exhibited various degrees of antioxidative properties when they were tested with the β-carotene-linoleate (β-CL) assay and the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free-radical-scavenging assay. The highest antioxidant activity was observed in the crude extracts of M. aeruginosa and B. braunii, which displayed a similar activity to synthetic BHT. Gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) analysis of the purified fractions revealed that the active compound was identical to synthetic BHT. Culturing under various irradiances gave rise to different magnitudes of BHT production in cyanobacterial cells, showing that more BHT was produced in the cells irradiated with a higher light intensity, and its production was irradiance dependent. Moreover, the quantity of cellular BHT displayed a positive correlation with the antioxidative activity of the tested species. The present study confirms the production of BHT in all four of the studied freshwater phytoplankton and suggests that these species constitute a potential source for producing natural BHT.

KEYWORDS:

butylated hydroxytoluene; cyanobacteria; green alga; irradiance; natural antioxidant

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