Eustigmatos polyphem is an unicellular spherical or elliptical soil microalga with an average cell diameter of approximate 7.5–12.5 µm, belonging to Eustigmatophyceae (Ochrophyta). All algae in this Class show the chlorophyll a as their unique chlorophyll pigment; nonetheless, Eustigmatos has a peculiar composition in carotenoids, since about 50% of the total is entirely made up of b-carotene, whereas the remaining part is represented by minor carotenoids as vaucheriaxanthin, zeaxanthin, luteoxanthin, violaxanthin and antheraxanthin. For this reason, when cultured, it changes evidently from green to red–orange while ageing as well as when starved with nitrogen deficiency. The high amount of b-carotene seems to play a protective role against environmental stresses such as nutrient depletion and high light irradiance, thus indicating Eustigmatos polyphem as a potential candidate for industrial production of this pigment.
Li et al., 2012 - A novel potential source of b-carotene: Eustigmatos cf. polyphem (Eustigmatophyceae) and pilot b-carotene production in bubble column and flat panel photobioreactors.
Eustigmatos polyphem, Nikon Eclipse E800, 100x
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