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Revista Brasileira de Ciências Farmacêuticas

Print version ISSN 1516-9332


MULLER, Marcos Coelho; RODRIGUEZ-AMAYA, Delia B.  and  LOURENCO, Sergio O.. Carotenoids of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis pevalekii produced under normal conditions and under nutrient limitation. Rev. Bras. Cienc. Farm. [online]. 2003, vol.39, n.4, pp.415-423. ISSN 1516-9332.

The use of microalgae and cyanobacteria as sources of nutrients and bioactive substances for food and dietary supplements has attracted a lot of interest in recent years. Through open column chromatography-visible absorption spectrophotometry, high performance liquid chromatography with a photodiode array detector, thin layer chromatography and functional group chemical reactions, trans- and cis-²-carotene, echinenone, ²-cryptoxanthin, 3-hydroxy-4'-ketocarotenoid, zeaxanthin and 3,3-dihydroxy-4'-ketocarotenoid were identified in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis pevalekii. The cianobacterium was green because of the presence of chlorophylls. When cultivated under stress (80% reduction of nutrient content of the original Conway medium) the chlorophylls disappeared and the cyanobacterium assumed an orange color. ²-Carotene decreased from 307 to 248 µg/g and ²-cryptoxanthin from 94 to 13 µg/g. On the other hand, zeaxanthin increased from 29 to 220 µg/g. Thus, S. pevalekii appears to have commercial potential as source of zeaxanthin, which is implicated in the reduction of the risk of macular degeneration and cataract, together with lutein. The results also showed that conditions for the production of the cyanobacterium can be established so that the biosynthesis of carotenoids important to human health, but difficult to obtain, can be favored. There are already several commercial sources of ²-carotene, but sources of zeaxanthin are rare.

Keywords : Cyanobacterium; Synechocystis pevalekii; Carotenoids; Zeaxanthin.

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