High Value Components

Micro-Algae and their

Hight Value Components


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) play a key role in cell and tissue metabolism, including regulation of membrane fluidity, electron transport and oxygen, as well as thermal adaptation. However, a few microalgae have potential for industrial production, mainly due to the type of crop, presenting a low level of growth.

In addition, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential for human consumption and physiological development, likewise, it has been shown that these fatty acids reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

At present, fish and fish oil are the main sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids, application as a food additive is limited due to the possible accumulation of toxins, fishy odor, unpleasant taste and the presence of mixed fatty acids, not adequate in vegetarian diets.


Carotenes are lipophilic isoprenoids synthesized by all photosynthetic organisms (including microalgae, algae, cyanobacteria and plants), and also by some non-photosynthetic bacteria and fungi.
Two kinds of carotenoids are found in nature, such as carotenoids β-carotene, linear hydrocarbons that can be cyclized at one or both ends of the molecule, and oxygenated carotenoid derivatives such as Lutein, Violaxanthin, Neoxanthin and Zeaxanthin, called xanthophylls.

Carotenoids are used as a food supplement, in dyeing, in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and animal feed. Recent research has shown its ability to reduce the risks of many degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, cataracts and macular degeneration. An advantage of carotenoids is the fact that growing under controlled conditions does not depend on the composition of climate, season or soil).

In the same way they are pigments of great commercial interest, they act as photoprotective photosynthetic pigments. Several species can accumulate Beta-carotene concentrations, for example, Astaxanthin or Cantaxanthin, which have a wide application as natural dyes and as antioxidants.


Astaxanthin presents a scientific and commercial interest, since it is an active molecule of natural origin of high added value, which has great application prospects, in the pharmaceutical industry as a marker in the monitoring of cells, as an antioxidant and anti-tumor agent; in the cosmetics industry as a colorant in various aspects and antioxidant; in the food industry as a supplement and complement in the direct and indirect coloring of various products, such as in the diet of poultry with the purpose of increasing egg yolk coloration; in aquaculture as a source of pigmentation in the diet of crustaceans (shrimp, lobsters).

The production of Astaxanthin by the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis (H.p), is due to the application of different factors that cause physiological stress: high luminous intensity, temperature higher than 30 ° C, deficiency of N and P as well as the addition of NaCl. The combination of these factors can increase the synthesis of Astaxanthin as a photo-protective response of the cell.


Chlorophyll content in microalgal cells is usually about 0.5-1.5% dry weight.

In the industry, Chlorophyll is used as an ingredient in the manufacture of toothpastes, mouth rinses, detergents, pills to combat halitosis. It can also be a good deodorant, antiseptic, and some evidence suggests its anticancer capacity.


Phycocolloids are polysaccharides of high molecular weight composed of sugar polymers. They are the main structural component of algae cell walls and may be involved in the recognition mechanism between algae and pathogens.

Some polysaccharides have been described with antioxidant, antiviral, anti-tumor and anticoagulant activities.

The polysaccharides extracted from marine algae are Agar, Carrageenan and Alginate, due to its wide use in the food and cosmetic industry.

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