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Mar. Drugs 2014, 12(1), 128-152; doi:10.3390/md12010128

Astaxanthin: Sources, Extraction, Stability, Biological Activities and Its Commercial Applications—A Review

Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia
Plant Cell Biotechnology Department, Central Food Technological Research Institute, (Constituent Laboratory of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research), Mysore-570020, Karnataka, India
Sagar Centre for Life Sciences, Dayananda Sagar Institutions, Kumaraswamy Layout, Bangalore-560078, Karnataka, India
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 October 2013 / Revised: 10 December 2013 / Accepted: 11 December 2013 / Published: 7 January 2014
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There is currently much interest in biological active compounds derived from natural resources, especially compounds that can efficiently act on molecular targets, which are involved in various diseases. Astaxanthin (3,3′-dihydroxy-β, β′-carotene-4,4′-dione) is a xanthophyll carotenoid, contained in Haematococcus pluvialis, Chlorella zofingiensis, Chlorococcum, and Phaffia rhodozyma. It accumulates up to 3.8% on the dry weight basis in H. pluvialis. Our recent published data on astaxanthin extraction, analysis, stability studies, and its biological activities results were added to this review paper. Based on our results and current literature, astaxanthin showed potential biological activity in in vitro and in vivo models. These studies emphasize the influence of astaxanthin and its beneficial effects on the metabolism in animals and humans. Bioavailability of astaxanthin in animals was enhanced after feeding Haematococcus biomass as a source of astaxanthin. Astaxanthin, used as a nutritional supplement, antioxidant and anticancer agent, prevents diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders, and also stimulates immunization. Astaxanthin products are used for commercial applications in the dosage forms as tablets, capsules, syrups, oils, soft gels, creams, biomass and granulated powders. Astaxanthin patent applications are available in food, feed and nutraceutical applications. The current review provides up-to-date information on astaxanthin sources, extraction, analysis, stability, biological activities, health benefits and special attention paid to its commercial applications.
Keywords: astaxanthin; sources; stability; biological activities; health benefits; applications astaxanthin; sources; stability; biological activities; health benefits; applications

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ambati, R.R.; Phang, S.-M.; Ravi, S.; Aswathanarayana, R.G. Astaxanthin: Sources, Extraction, Stability, Biological Activities and Its Commercial Applications—A Review. Mar. Drugs 2014, 12, 128-152.

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