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Production of biomass and carotenoids of Dunaliella tertiolecta in nitrogen-limited cultures

López-Elías JA1, D Fimbres-Olivarría3, LA Medina-Juárez1, A Miranda-Baeza2, LR Martínez-Córdova1, DMA Molina-Quijada3

Universidad de Sonora, DICTUS, Colosio s/n entre Reforma y Sahuaripa, Col. Centro CP 83000, Hermosillo, Sonora, México. Apdo Postal 1819.
Centro de Estudios Superiores del Estado de Sonora, Unidad Navojoa; Carretera a Huatabampo y Periférico Sur, Navojoa, Sonora. México C.P. 85870.
Estudiante del Posgrado en Biociencias del Departamento de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas de la Universidad de Sonora.

* Corresponding Author:Address Correspondence to: José A. López-Elías, e-mail:

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2013, 82(all), 23-30.


Microalgae have a high content of antioxidant compounds (carotenoids, phycobilins and fatty acids) used in biotechnology industry. Under stress conditions Dunaliella cells produce more carotenoids. Because of this, we evaluated growth, biomass and carotenoid production under control (indoor) and outdoor conditions using mass cultures of Dunaliella tertiolecta Butcher, under nitrogenlimited media. Control medium was f/2 (nitrates: 18.75 g/L), and limited media were f/4 (nitrates: 37.5 g/L), f/6 (nitrates: 25 g/L) and f/8 (nitrates: 18.75 g/L). The highest cell concentrations were found in cultures using medium f/2 maintained indoor (1.28 x 106 cells/mL) and outdoor (0.76 x 106 cell/mL). Dry biomass increased in both culture conditions when nitrogen decreased in the medium (Indoor: 100 to 217 pg/cell, and Outdoor: 230 to 355 pg/cell). The highest concentration of total carotenoids was found using medium f/8 whereas the highest productivity was obtained using medium f/2 achieving yields of 0.03 mg/L of zeaxanthin, 9.19 mg/L lutein, 19.56 mg/L chlorophyll b, 1.62 mg/L chlorophyll a and 5.40 mg/L β-carotenoids. In conclusion, carotenoid concentration increased in nitrogen-limited cultures, but cell density decreased under such conditions.


Cite This Article

JA, L., Fimbres-Olivarría, D., Medina-Juárez, L., Miranda-Baeza, A., Martínez-Córdova, L. et al. (2013). Production of biomass and carotenoids of Dunaliella tertiolecta in nitrogen-limited cultures. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 82(all), 23–30.


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