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Use of Dunaliella salina for carotenoids incorporation in foods

Grant number: 19/27605-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2023
Effective date (End): March 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal Investigator:João Carlos Monteiro de Carvalho
Grantee:Aline Kirie Gohara Beirigo
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas (FCF). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Microalgae are important photosynthetic microorganisms which can absorb and convert carbon dioxide in oxygen, in addition to presenting high content of biomolecules of industrial importance in their biomasses, and the carotenoids can be highlighted as chemicals of high biological value. Dunaliella salina is one of the most important producers of carotenoids, mainly beta-carotene. However, there are two major challenges for carotenoids produced by microalgae being effectively used commercially in our country, as well as a source of income from exportation. The first refers to the production process. In this case, it is important to obtain high cell concentrations, with higher carotenoid contents, shorter cultivation times and lower costs. Another equally important challenge in the process in which it is produced an industrial input, is the adequate application for it. In this way, this research project will study the influence of vegetable hormones on the carotenogenesis process of Dunaliella salina using open photobioreactors under optimum production conditions. The biomass obtained from this microalga will receive technological treatments to form nanoemulsions in order to improve carotenoids bioaccessibility that will be assessed by in vitro simulation of digestion process. The biomass, extract or nanoemulsion obtained will be used in food formulations which are commonly consumed by the world population as means to incorporate carotenoids and other nutrients in the diet, so as to achieve the daily intake recommendations established by the World Health Organization. These products will be assessed regarding quality parameters, such as antioxidant activity, protein and mineral contents, fatty acids and carotenoids composition, in vitro bioaccessibility tests simulating digestion process, in addition to sensory attributes and acceptability.

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