Strains of Dunaliella salina microalgae are of considerable research and industrial interest because they hyper-accumulate β-carotene as well as produce high-quality protein. To explore the co-production of valuable compounds in D. salina, this study compared the production of β-carotene, phytoene and amino acids in two strains cultivated under white, red or blue light until no further nitrogen was available. D. salina DF15 (CCAP 19/41 (PLY DF15)) produced more than 12% β-carotene (ash-free dry weight (AFDW) basis), and red light triggered the production of 9-cis β-carotene at a 9-cis/all-trans β-carotene ratio of 1.5. Phytoene production was also evident in D. salina DF15 under all conditions, particularly under blue light. However, the profile of essential amino acids (EAAs) and calculation of the essential amino acid index (EAAI) was less than ideal in terms of protein quality, for both strains. Umami compounds, quantified as monosodium glutamate (MSG) equivalents, indicated a higher equivalent umami concentration (EUC) in D. salina DF15 under red light (3.2 g MSG/100 g AFDW) than in D. salina CCAP19/30. Overall, D. salina DF15 demonstrates valuable traits for further exploration and product optimisation.
Keywords: LED; carotenoids; halophile; microalgae; novel food.