Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. 50(S1): 163-175


Response to oxidative stress induced by high light and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the biodiesel producer model Nannochloropsis salina (Ochrophyta, Eustigmatales)

Karen Yangüez1, Carlos Lovazzano2, Loretto Contreras-Porcia2,3 and Nicole Ehrenfeld1,4

1Universidad Santo Tomás, Escuela de Biotecnología. Ejército 146, Santiago, Chile
2Departamento de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Facultad de Ecología y Recursos Naturales, Universidad Andrés Bello, República 470, Santiago, Chile
3Center of Applied Ecology & Sustainability (CAPES), Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
4Austral Biotech S.A., Ejército 146, 1er subterráneo Ed. C, Santiago, Chile

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Due to overconsumption of fossil fuels, microalgae have arrived as an alternative source of biofuel. Looking forward to generate a sustainable process, it is proposed to couple the cultures to CO2 emission sources, reaching in this way higher biomass performance and helping in the way with the capture of carbon released by the combustion processes. Nannochloropsis salina is a microalgae from the Monodopsidaceae family, which is easy to grow and produces high value compounds like essential pigments, polyunsaturated fatty acids and high amounts of lipids. Previous studies showed that adding CO2 to cultures (until 2%) generated an increment in biomass and in the production of fatty acids. However, these conditions also induce acidification of the media, a condition that may promote the generation of oxygen reactive species. In this work, the antioxidant performance of N. salina was studied under different culture conditions involving CO2 through 3 different approaches: analysis of antioxidant enzymatic activities (catalase, ascorbate peroxidase and peroxiredoxine), analysis of gene expression and the quantification of H2O2, phenolic compounds and lipoperoxides (e.g., cell damage marker). The results obtained suggest that an increase in the CO2 concentration in the cultures (15,000 ppm), together with high light (1,000 mmol m-1 s-1) induces an oxidative stress condition in N. salina cells. However, the antioxidant response observed in the microalgae manages to soften this stress, adapting themselves to these conditions without affecting their global performance.

Key words:  Nannochloropsis salina, reactive oxygen species, antioxidant enzymes, carbon dioxide, qPCR