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The combination of nitrogen deprivation and increased cultivation light intensity resulted in the synthesis of secondary carotenoids in flagellates of Haematococcus lacustris. The pigment pattern was characterized by high-pressure liquid chromatography analysis during the accumulation period and in response to inhibitors of carotenoid biosynthesis (diphenylamine, norflurazon and tetcyclacis). Diphenylamine treatment resulted in (i) a decrease in ketocarotenoids and (ii) an accumulation of β-carotene and zeaxanthin due to inhibition of the β-carotene oxygenase. Our results indicate that astaxanthin synthesis in H. lacustris follows the biosynthetic pathway elucidated in the marine bacterium Agrobacterium aurantiacum.

Original publication




Journal article


European Journal of Phycology

Publication Date





387 - 392