Bulk Carotenoids

One metric used to indicate a physiological response in algal cultures is pigment concentration. Typically the photosynthetic pigment chlorophyll a is used to indicate the health of a growing culture or as a measure of productivity in a population. I am extracting and measuring carotenoid production in Nannochloropsis salina to determine the relationship between culture management and physiological status. 96 well plates make the measurement of numerous samples a breeze. A standard curve can be created with Beta-Carotene. 

 

Bulk carotenoids loaded into 96 well plate

Bulk carotenoids loaded into 96 well plate

Algae Pigments: Carotenoids as Indicators for Stress

One of my main research interests in terms of algae production is how culture management affects algal biomass and bio-compound yield. In response to environmental stress algae algae can change their biochemical composition drastically. For instance changes in light level can cause changes in pigment concentrations; changes in nutrient levels can cause changes in lipid content. These relationships are specific to each species of algae and also respond to environmental conditions in a complex way. 

I am currently looking at carotenoid profiles in N. salina in response to culture management strategies. This data combined with the lipid profiles will help design culture methods that can provide a predictable yield biomass/bio-compounds. 

Pigment extracts of N. salina ready for HPLC.