Fast-track production of astaxanthin by reduced cultivation time with the “red cell inoculation system” (RCIS) and various chemical cues in Haematococcus lacustris

  • Sang-Ah Lee
  • Nakyeong Lee
  • Hee-Mock Oh
  • Dae Geun Kim
  • Chi-Yong AhnEmail author


Slow growth is the major obstacle in the production of astaxanthin in Haematococcus lacustris. Introduction of a “red cell inoculation system (RCIS)” reduced the culture time of H. lacustris by 43% by increasing its growth rate and inducing the earlier synthesis of astaxanthin. Red mature H. lacustris cells rather than green cyst cells were re-inoculated to decrease the growth period from 7 to 4 days by producing more zoospore cells. Starved red cells could take up nutrients quickly, thereby achieving faster growth. To further shorten the astaxanthin induction time, FeSO4, NaCl, and NaHCO3 were added to the cells, and their effects were compared. These chemicals accelerated astaxanthin biosynthesis, decreasing the production period from 7 to 4 days. This study focused on faster astaxanthin production to achieve economic feasibility by RCIS and chemical cues. Fast-track growth and a synthesis induction strategy enabled a more economic and efficient production of astaxanthin in H. lacustris.


Haematococcus lacustris Astaxanthin Red cell inoculation system (RCIS) Chemical cues 


Funding information

This work was supported by the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB) Research Initiative Program and the Advanced Biomass R&D Center (ABC), a Global Frontier Program funded by the Korean Ministry of Science and the ICT (2010-0029723).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10811_2019_1904_MOESM1_ESM.docx (951 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 951 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cell Factory Research CenterKorea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB)DaejeonRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Biotechnology, KRIBB School of BiotechnologyUniversity of Science and Technology (UST)DaejeonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.LED Agri-bio Fusion Technology Research CenterChonbuk National UniversityIksan-siRepublic of Korea

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