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Effects of spray-drying and storage on astaxanthin content of Haematococcus pluvialis biomass

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The main objective of this study was to evaluate the stability of astaxanthin after drying and storage at different conditions during a 9-week period. Recovery of astaxanthin was evaluated by extracting pigments from the dried powders and analysing extracts by HPLC. The powders obtained were stored under different conditions of temperature and oxygen level and the effects on the degradation of astaxanthin were examined. Under the experimental conditions conducted in this study, the drying temperature that yielded the highest content of astaxanthin was 220°C, as the inlet, and 120°C, as the outlet temperature of the drying chamber. The best results were obtained for biomass dried at 180/110°C and stored at −21°C under nitrogen, with astaxanthin degradation lower than 10% after 9 weeks of storage. A reasonable preservation of astaxanthin can be achieved by conditions 180/80°C, −21°C nitrogen, 180/110°C, 21°C nitrogen, and 220/80°C, 21°C vacuum: the ratio of astaxanthin degradation is equal or inferior to 40%. In order to prevent astaxanthin degradation of Haematococcus pluvialis biomass, it is recommended the storage of the spray dried carotenized cells (180/110ºC) under nitrogen and −21°C.

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Correspondence to Rui M. S. C. Morais.

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Raposo, M.F.J., Morais, A.M.M.B. & Morais, R.M.S.C. Effects of spray-drying and storage on astaxanthin content of Haematococcus pluvialis biomass. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 28, 1253–1257 (2012).

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  • Haematococcus pluvialis
  • Carotenoids
  • Astaxanthin
  • Spray drying
  • Storage