The Effect of Salt Stress on the Production of Canthaxanthin and Astaxanthin by Chlorella zofingiensis Grown Under Limited Light Intensity Academic Article uri icon


  • The fresh water green microalga Chlorella zofingiensisis known to accumulate ketocarotenoids – primarily astaxanthin but also canthaxanthin – when grown under stress conditions of high light irradiance and low nitrogen. We found that salt stress can replace light stress with respect to inducing carotenoid production: cells of C. zofingiensis grown under low light irradiance and subjected to salt and low nitrogen stress accumulated higher amounts of total secondary carotenoids than those growing under high light and low nitrogen stress. Furthermore, C. zofingiensis growing under conditions of salt stress and low light accumulated higher amounts of canthaxanthin than astaxanthin. It is suggested that for canthaxanthin accumulation under salt stress, light is not a limiting factor, but for astaxanthin accumulation high light irradiance is mandatory. These results may be applied in the future for the commercial production of canthaxanthin by C. zofingiensis in systems in which light availability is poor.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004