Biology and Commercial Aspects of Haematococcus pluvialis

Danxiang Han, Yantao Li, Qiang Hu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

53 Scopus citations


Mass culture of Haematococcus pluvialis is commercially available and astaxanthin derived from H. pluvialis is used as a nutraceutical for human health and as a coloring agent for aquaculture. However, the Haematococcus industry has achieved only moderate success due to low astaxanthin productivity and the high production cost associated with the current mass culture systems and processes. This chapter provides the current understanding of biology of H. pluvialis from molecular, cellular, and physiological aspects with an emphasis on the pathway for and physiological role of astaxanthin synthesis in response to photooxidative stress. Several major biological and environmental factors that affect growth and astaxanthin production are identified, of which fungal contamination is the most detrimental factor that is largely responsible for low astaxanthin production and frequent culture crashes. Future expansion of the Haematococcus industry will depend on significant improvement in our knowledge about the biology of Haematococcus and predator-prey interaction, and transformation of the knowledge into a next-generation mass culture system and process including an advanced Haematococcus crop protection program. This edition first published 2013

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Microalgal Culture: Applied Phycology and Biotechnology
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780470673898
StatePublished - Apr 12 2013


  • Astaxanthin biosynthesis
  • Chytrids
  • Crop protection
  • Haematococcus pluvialis
  • Mass culture
  • Photooxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Biology and Commercial Aspects of Haematococcus pluvialis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this