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J Agric Food Chem. 2016 Jun 15;64(23):4807-16. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b00541. Epub 2016 Jun 3.

Effect of Ethephon as an Ethylene-Releasing Compound on the Metabolic Profile of Chlorella vulgaris.

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College of Pharmacy, Chung-Ang University , Seoul 156-756, Republic of Korea.
Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Department of Biological Engineering, Inha University , Incheon 402-751, Republic of Korea.
Department of Biological Sciences, KAIST , Daejeon 305-701, Republic of Korea.
College of Pharmacy, Gachon University , Incheon 406-840, Republic of Korea.


In this study, Chlorella vulgaris (C. vulgaris) was treated with ethephon at low (50 μM) and high (200 μM) concentrations in medium and harvested at 0, 7, and 14 days, respectively. The presence of ethephon led to significant metabolic changes in C. vulgaris, with significantly higher levels of α-tocopherol, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), asparagine, and proline, but lower levels of glycine, citrate, and galactose relative to control. Ethephon induced increases in saturated fatty acids but decreases in unsaturated fatty acids. The levels of highly saturated sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol species and palmitic acid bound phospholipids were increased on day 7 of ethephon treatment. Among the metabolites, the productivities of α-tocopherol (0.70 μg/L/day) and GABA (1.90 μg/L/day) were highest for 50 and 200 μM ethephon on day 7, respectively. We propose that ethephon treatment involves various metabolic processes in C. vulgaris and can be an efficient way to enrich the contents of α-tocopherol and GABA.


C. vulgaris; GABA; ethephon; fatty acids; lipids; metabolomics; α-tocopherol

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