Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 86, Issue 1, pp 27–40 | Cite as

Biotechnological production of lutein and its applications

  • José M. Fernández-Sevilla
  • F. G. Acién Fernández
  • E. Molina Grima


Lutein is an antioxidant that has gathered increasing attention due to its potential role in preventing or ameliorating age-related macular degeneration. Currently, it is produced from marigold oleoresin, but continuous reports of lutein-producing microalgae pose the question if those microorganisms can become an alternative source. Several microalgae have higher lutein contents than most marigold cultivars and have been shown to yield productivities hundreds of times higher than marigold crops on a per square meter basis. Microalgae and marigold are opposite alternatives in the use of resources such as land and labor and the prevalence of one or the other could change in the future as the lutein demand rises and if labor or land becomes more restricted or expensive in the producing countries. The potential of microalgae as a lutein source is analyzed and compared to marigold. It is suggested that, in the current state of the art, microalgae could compete with marigold even without counting on any of the improvements in microalgal technology that can be expected in the near future.


Lutein Microalgae Extraction Photobioreactor Mass production 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • José M. Fernández-Sevilla
    • 1
  • F. G. Acién Fernández
    • 1
  • E. Molina Grima
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of AlmeríaAlmeríaSpain

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