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Enhancement of antioxidant production in Spirulina platensis under oxidative stress


The present study examined the possibility of increasing the contents of some bioactive compounds of Spirulina platensis cultivated in medium containing various hydrogen peroxide concentrations (2, 4, 6 and 8 mM) as a model for environmental stress. A positive correlation was observed between the increase of H2O2 and increasing amounts of cellular lipophilic antioxidants (total carotenoids and α-tocopherol) and hydrophilic antioxidants [glutathione (GSH) and ascorbic acid (AsA)]. HPLC profile of carotenoids revealed that algae responded to the change of H2O2 exposure by the accumulation of higher amounts of β-carotene, astaxanthine, luteine, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. S. platensis showed significant linear increase in activities of antioxidant enzymes, i.e., catalase (CAT), peroxidase (PX), ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), with increasing H2O2 concentrations. A pronounced increase of oxidative lesions’ indexes [thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and paramagnetic radical-EPR signal] was found in algal grown at 8 mM H2O2. These data revealed that S. platensis behaved with different strategies against H2O2 exposure which is dose dependent and their response strongly correlated with the scavenging enzymes (SOD, CAT, PX and APX) and antioxidant compounds (GSH, AsA, β-carotene, astaxanthine and α-tocopherol) in the antioxidant defense systems. Therefore, S. platensis could be considered as good candidates for successful cultivation in artificial open ponds under different environmental conditions, as high value health foods, functional foods and as source of wide spectrum of nutrients.

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Correspondence to Hanaa H. Abd El-Baky.

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Communicated by G. Bartosz.

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Abd El-Baky, H.H., El Baz, F.K. & El-Baroty, G.S. Enhancement of antioxidant production in Spirulina platensis under oxidative stress. Acta Physiol Plant 31, 623 (2009).

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  • Spirulina platensis
  • Carotenoids
  • Antioxidant enzymes
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Electron paramagnetic resonance
  • Free radicals