Stress manipulation in Dunaliella salina and dual-stage [beta]-carotene production

Phillips, Trevor David (1994) Stress manipulation in Dunaliella salina and dual-stage [beta]-carotene production. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.

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The alga Dunaliella salina accumulates large quantities of β-carotene in response to certain environmental and physiological stresses. This hyper-accumulation process has been commercially exploited. However, the currently employed averaging or single-stage process produces β-carotene yields well below the genetic potential of the organism due to the inverse relationship between growth and secondary metabolite production. A dual-stage process, which separates the distinctive growth and secondary metabolite production stages of the alga, has been proposed. The broad aim of the research programme was to evaluate the practicality, scale-up and economic viability of a dual-stage β-carotene production process from D. salina. Preliminary laboratory studies showed that although stress factors such as high salinity and a range of nutrient limitations enhance β-carotene accumulation in D. salina, high light intensity is the single most important factor inducing β-carotene hyper-accumulation in the alga. Furthermore, the preliminary studies indicated that 6-carotene production could be successfully manipulated by the imposition of stress. The stress response of D. salina to high light stress was examined at a fundamental level. The relative partitioning of β-carotene between thylakoid membrane and interthylakoid globular β-carotene has revealed two responses to high light stress. The first is a response in which the alga adapts to the photoinhibitory effects of high light stress by the rapid accumulation and the peripheral localisation of Jl-carotene to the outer extremities of the chloroplast. This is followed by a maintenance response which is characterised by the recovery of the photosynthetic rate and cell growth. A possible interrelationship between the extent of the photo inhibitory response and the amount of β-carotene hyper-accumulation has been noted. An outdoor evaluation of the growth stage of the dual-stage system has demonstrated that D. salina can be grown in a relatively low salinity, nutrient sufficient medium for extended periods without overgrowth by small non-carotenogenic Dunaliella species. In addition, biomass productivities of three times greater than those obtained in the currently employed averaging system were achieved. The role of high light intensity in β-carotene hyper-accumulation was confirmed in outdoor scale-up stress pond studies. The studies demonstrated the feasibility of stress induced ll-carotene production in outdoor cultures of D. salina and β-carotene yields three times greater than those obtained in the currently employed averaging process were achieved. The dual-stage process imposes the specific requirement of viable cell separation on the harvesting system employed. A flocculation-flotation process and an air-displacement crossflow ultrafiltration system were developed and successfully evaluated for the separation of D. salina from the brine solution in a viable form. The extraction of β-carotene from D. salina was evaluated. Supercritical fluid extraction studies showed that the use of a co-solvent mixture of carbon dioxide and propane could effectively reduce the high extraction pressures associated with supercritical carbon dioxide extraction. In addition, a novel hydrophobic membrane assisted hot oil extraction process was developed which separates the complex oil-water emulsions produced during hot oil extraction of 6-carotene from wet D. salina biomass. Process design and economic evaluation studies were undertaken and showed that the economics of the dual-stage process offer significant advantages over the currently employed averaging process.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Beta-carotene, Dunaliella, Plants, Stress
Subjects:Q Science > QD Chemistry > QD241 Organic chemistry > QD415 Biochemistry
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Biochemistry, Microbiology & Biotechnology
Supervisors:Rose, Peter
ID Code:3866
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:29 Oct 2012 13:33
Last Modified:29 Oct 2012 13:33
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