Carotenoids in microalgae

Vitalia Henríquez, Carolina Escobar, Janeth Galarza, Javier Gimpel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Carotenoids are a class of isoprenoids synthesized by all photosynthetic organisms as well as by some non-photosynthetic bacteria and fungi with broad applications in food, feed and cosmetics, and also in the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. Microalgae represent an important source of high-value products, which include carotenoids, among others. Carotenoids play key roles in light harvesting and energy transfer during photosynthesis and in the protection of the photosynthetic apparatus against photooxidative damage. Carotenoids are generally divided into carotenes and xanthophyls, but accumulation in microalgae can also be classified as primary (essential for survival) and secondary (by exposure to specific stimuli). In this chapter, we outline the high value carotenoids produced by commercially important microalgae, their production pathways, the improved production rates that can be achieved by genetic engineering as well as their biotechnological applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-237
Number of pages19
JournalSub-Cellular Biochemistry
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Algae
  • Astaxanthin
  • Cetocarotenoids
  • Dunaliella salina
  • Haematococcus pluvialis
  • Metabolic engineering


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