|Effects of abiotic stressors on lutein production in the green microalga Dunaliella salina.
|Year of Publication
|W. Fu; G. Paglia; M. Magnúsdóttir; E.A. Steinarsdóttir; S. Gudmundsson; B.O. Palsson; O.S. Andrésson; S. Brynjólfsson
|PLoS Comput Biol
|BACKGROUND: Recent years have witnessed a rising trend in exploring microalgae for valuable carotenoid products as the demand for lutein and many other carotenoids in global markets has increased significantly. In green microalgae lutein is a major carotenoid protecting cellular components from damage incurred by reactive oxygen species under stress conditions. In this study, we investigated the effects of abiotic stressors on lutein accumulation in a strain of the marine microalga D. salina which had been selected for growth under stress conditions of combined blue and red lights by adaptive laboratory evolution. RESULTS: Nitrate concentration, salinity and light quality were selected as three representative influencing factors and their impact on lutein production in batch cultures of D. salina was evaluated using response surface analysis. D. salina was found to be more tolerant to hyper-osmotic stress than to hypo-osmotic stress which caused serious cell damage and death in a high proportion of cells while hyper-osmotic stress increased the average cell size of D. salina only slightly. Two models were developed to explain how lutein productivity depends on the stress factors and for predicting the optimal conditions for lutein productivity. Among the three stress variables for lutein production, stronger interactions were found between nitrate concentration and salinity than between light quality and the other two. The predicted optimal conditions for lutein production were close to the original conditions used for adaptive evolution of D. salina. This suggests that the conditions imposed during adaptive evolution may have selected for the growth optima arrived at. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that systematic evaluation of the relationship between abiotic environmental stresses and lutein biosynthesis can help to decipher the key parameters in obtaining high levels of lutein productivity in D. salina. This study may benefit future stress-driven adaptive laboratory evolution experiments and a strategy of applying stress in a step-wise manner can be suggested for a rational design of experiments.