Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Vol.193, No.4, 981-997, 2021
Antioxidant Bioprospecting in Microalgae: Characterisation of the Potential of Two Marine Heterokonts from Irish Waters
Microalgae constitute a heterogeneous and diverse range of organisms capable of accumulating bioactive metabolites, making them promising feedstock for applications in the nutraceutical, functional food, animal feed, biofertilisation or biofuel sectors. There has been renewed interest in recent times in natural sources of antioxidants, particularly as health products and preserving agents. Microalgae strains isolated from aquatic habitats in Ireland were successfully brought into culture. The 91 strains were grown phototrophically in nutrient-enriched media to generate biomass, which was harvested and assessed for antioxidant potential. Extracts were screened for antioxidant activity using a modified volumetric Trolox-ABTS assay and the Folin-Ciocalteu method. Two heterokont marine strains of interest were further studied to ascertain variations in antioxidant capacity across different stages of batch culture growth. The antioxidant activity of extracts of bacillariophyte cf. Stauroneis sp. LACW24 and ocrophyte cf. Phaeothamnion sp. LACW34 increased during growth with a maximum being observed during the late stationary or early death phase (2.5- to 8-fold increases between days 20 and 27). Strains LACW24 and LACW34 contained 5.9 and 3.0 mg g(-1) (DW) of the xanthophyll fucoxanthin, respectively. Extracts of strains also showed no cytotoxicity towards mouse cell lines. These results highlight the potential of these strains for biomass valorisation and cultivation upscaling and to be further considered as part of ongoing bioprospecting efforts towards identifying novel species to join the relatively narrow range of commercially exploited marine microalgae species.