Improving the Extractability and Bioavailability of the Natural Antioxidant Astaxanthin from a Green Alga

Milton Sommerfeld (Inventor)

Research output: Patent


The natural red pigment asataxanthin is a potent bioactive antioxidant that can lend to several applications in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. It is also being widely used in aquaculture and poultry industries as a feed additive to improve the coloration of cultured salmons, crustaceans and egg yolks. The unicellular green alga, Haematococcus pluvialis, is the richest known natural source of astaxanthin. In recent years, mass production of H. pluvialis has enabled the commercial availability of the pigment. Natural astaxanthin production and commercialization is estimated to be a 1.2 billion dollar annual market. One of the major limitations with the H. pluvialis production system is that the astaxanthin is trapped behind thick cells walls, thus complicating the extraction process and the production yields. Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a novel approach to improve the extractability process and bioavailability of asataxanthin by generating cell wall deficient strains of H. pluvialis. The reduction in cell wall material significantly decreases the complexity of the extraction process without altering the molecules activity. Additionally, the H. pluvialis mutants produce astaxanthin at concentrations superior to the wild type. Potential Applications Nutraceutical Industry Pharmaceutical Industry Food Coloration ApplicationBenefits and Advantages Simplistic astaxanthin extraction- decreased production cost while maintaining yield Increased Bioavailability Less rigorous extraction translates to more astaxanthin retaining antioxidant and pigment properties Higher Concentration YeildsDownload original PDFFor more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see Dr. Sommerfield's departmental webpageDr. Hu's departmental webpage
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006


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