The group of HUANG Junchao from CAS Kunming Institute of Botany succeeded to generate a mutant of Chlorella zofingiensis (CZ-bkt1) which accumulated zeaxanthin up to 7 mg/g when induced by high light irradiation and nitrogen deficiency, and 36 mg/L by additional feeding with glucose. In addition to zeaxanthin, CZ-bkt1 also accumulated high amounts of β-carotene (7 mg/g or 34 mg/L with glucose feeding) and lutein (14 mg/g or 34 mg/L). . CZ-bkt1 was found to express a dysfunctional carotenoid ketolase, leading to the accumulation of zeaxanthin rather than its downstream ketocarotenoid astaxanthin.

CAS news release, January 30, 2018