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Phenolic compounds and antioxidant properties in the snow alga Chlamydomonas nivalis after exposure to UV light

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Abstract

The snow alga Chlamydomonas nivalis was collected from the Sierra Nevada, California, USA, and examined for its ability to produce phenolic compounds, free proline, and provide antioxidant protection factor in response to UV-A and UV-C light. Exposure of C. nivalis cells to UV-A light (365nm) for 5 days resulted in a 5–12% increase in total phenolics, where as exposure to UV-C light (254 nm) resulted in a 12–24% increase in phenolics after 7 days of exposure. Free proline was not affected by UV-A, but increased markedly after UV-C exposure. A three-fold increase in free proline occurred within two days after exposure to UV-C, but then dropped as cells became bleached. Antioxidant protection factor (PF) increased after treatment of cells with UV-A and remained constant throughout UV-C exposure. Spectral analysis of algal extracts revealed a decrease in absorption in the 215–225 nm region, short-term (2day) stimulation of pigment at 280 nm, and an increase in carotenoids (473 nm), after exposure to UV-A. Snow alga exposed to UV-C light had a different spectrum from that of UV-A exposed cells, i.e. an enhancement of three major peaks at 220, 260, and 280 nm, and loss of absorption in the carotenoid region.We report that UV light exposure, especially in the UV-C range, can stimulate phenolic-antioxidant production in aplanospores of C. nivalis effecting biochemical pathways related to proline metabolism.

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Duval, B., Shetty, K. & Thomas, W.H. Phenolic compounds and antioxidant properties in the snow alga Chlamydomonas nivalis after exposure to UV light. Journal of Applied Phycology 11, 559–566 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008178208949

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