Skip navigation

Phytoene and phytofluene overproduction by Dunaliella salina using the mitosis inhibitor chlorpropham

Phytoene and phytofluene overproduction by Dunaliella salina using the mitosis inhibitor chlorpropham

Xu, Yanan ORCID: 0000-0002-1697-6070 and Harvey, Patricia J. ORCID: 0000-0001-7193-4570 (2020) Phytoene and phytofluene overproduction by Dunaliella salina using the mitosis inhibitor chlorpropham. Algal Research, 52:102126. ISSN 2211-9264 (doi:

PDF (Publisher's PDF - Open Access)
30134 HARVEY_Phytoene_and_Phytofluene_Overproduction_(OA)_2020.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (2MB) | Preview


The halotolerant chlorophyte microalga, Dunaliella salina, is one of the richest sources of carotenoids and will accumulate up to 10% of the dry biomass as β-carotene, depending on the integrated amount of light to which the alga is exposed during a division cycle. Red light also stimulates β-carotene production, as well as increases the 9-cis β-carotene/all-trans β-carotene ratio. In this paper we investigated the effects of chlorpropham (Iso-propyl-N (3-chlorophenyl) carbamate, CIPC), with and without red light, on carotenoid accumulation. Chlorpropham is a well-known carbamate herbicide and plant growth regulator that inhibits mitosis and cell division. Chlorpropham arrested cell division and induced the massive accumulation of colourless phytoene and phytofluene carotenoids, and, to a much lesser extent, the coloured carotenoids. The chlorophyll content also increased. When phytoene per cell accumulated to approximately the same level with chlorpropham as with norflurazon, a phytoene desaturase inhibitor, coloured carotenoids and chlorophyll increased with chlorpropham but decreased with norflurazon. Cultivation with chlorpropham under red LED light for 2 days did not affect the content of β-carotene, but phytoene was 2.4-fold the amount that was obtained in cultures under white LED light and the 9-cis β-carotene/all-trans β-carotene ratio increased from 1.3 to 1.8. With norflurazon, red LED light boosted the contents of both phytoene and β-carotene, 2-fold and 1.3-fold respectively compared to those under white LED light, and the ratio of 9-cis β-carotene/all-trans β-carotene reached 3.8. The results are discussed in terms of disruption by chlorpropham of synchronised control between nuclear and chloroplast events associated with carotenoid biosynthesis. Since phytoene and phytofluene are colourless carotenoids which are sought after for the development of nutricosmetics and other health/beauty products, the results also present as a new method with low toxicity for production of colourless carotenoids based on the cultivation of D. salina.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dunaliella salina; Red light; Mitosis inhibitor; Phytoene desaturase inhibitor; Phytoene; Phytofluene
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
Q Science > QD Chemistry
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Algal Biotechnology Research Group
Faculty of Engineering & Science > School of Science (SCI)
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2020 11:44

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics