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J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2003; 13(2): 165-174

Published online April 28, 2003

Copyright © The Korean Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Xanthophylls in Microalgae: From Biosynthesis to Biotechnological Mass Production and Application

Juergen E. W. Polle , Hong-Kum Lee 1, Sang-Min Hyun 2, Man Chang 2 and Eon-Seon Jin 2

Brooklyn College of the City University of New York Biology Department 2900 Bedford Ave Brooklyn NY 11210 U.S.A., 1Microbiology Laboratory Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute Ansan 425-170 Korea, 2Environmental Science Laboratory Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute (KORDI) Ansan 425-170 Korea

Abstract

Xanthophylls are oxygenated carotenoids that serve a variety of functions in photosynthetic organisms and are essential for survival of the organism. Within the last decade, major nor advances have been made in the elucidation of the molecular genetics and biochemistry of the xanthophyll biosynthesis pathway. Microalgae, yeast, or other microorganisms produce some of the xanthophylls that are being commercially used due to their own color and antioxidant properties. Currently, only a few microalgae are being considered or already being exploitd for the production of high-value xanthophylls. However, new developments in molecular biology have important implications for the commercialization of microalgae, and make the genetic manipulation of the xanthophyll content of microalgae mure attractive for biotechnological purposes. Accordingly, the current review summarizes the general properties of xanthophylls in microalgae and the recent developments in the biotechnological production of xanthophylls.

Keywords: Xanthophylls,microalgae,photoprotection,biotechnology,commercialization