Enhancement of astaxanthin production in Haematococcus pluvialis using zinc oxide nanoparticles

Negar Nasri, Mehrnaz Keyhanfar, Mandana Behbahani, Ghasem Dini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Today, there is a great interest in using astaxanthin due to its potential health advantages. Application of different types of nanoparticles (NPs) as stress agents to enhance astaxanthin production in Haematococcus pluvialis, a microalgae strain, has been reported in the literature. In this study, the effect of different concentrations of zinc oxide (ZnO) NPs on the enhancement of astaxanthin production in H. pluvialis was investigated. First, ZnO NPs were synthesized from zinc nitrate as the precursor and sodium hydroxide (chemical method), and peel extract of pomegranate (green method) as reducing agents. To study the cell viability and stimulate the astaxanthin production, H. pluvialis cells were exposed to the different concentrations (i.e. 50, 100, 200, and 400 μg.ml−1) of ZnO NPs. The synthesized powders were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and dynamic light scattering (DLS) methods. The characterization results showed that the pure ZnO NPs were successfully synthesized via both methods with uniform particle size distribution. But, the average particle size of the green synthesized ZnO NPs (about 30 nm) was smaller than that of the chemically synthesized ones (about 80 nm). Maximum astaxanthin production (~ 20 mg.g−1 of dry biomass of H. pluvialis) was achieved at 100 μg.ml−1 of green synthesized ZnO NPs exposure to the H. pluvialis in comparison with the control culture after 15 days. However, ZnO NPs concentration above 200 μg.ml−1 was toxic to the microalgae. From these results, it can be concluded that a specific amount of ZnO NPs could be considered as a worthy candidate for the enhancement of astaxanthin production in H. pluvialis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-78
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2021


  • Astaxanthin
  • Green synthesis
  • Haematococcus pluvialis
  • ZnO nanoparticles


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