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Green alga (Haematococcus pluvialis), SEM

Green alga (Haematococcus pluvialis), SEM

C036/9966

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Credit

DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of green alga (chlorophyte) vegetative stage (Haematococcus pluvialis). A unicellular, microscopic green alga that has two flagella. It contains a single, cup-shaped chloroplast, with several pyrenoids. This alga occurs in many different aquatic environments including fresh and brackish water. It is believed to be the world's richest known source of astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a natural carotenoid pigment and a biological antioxidant. When environmental conditions become adverse, they enter a resting phase (cyst phase) that allows them to survive for prolonged periods, until the environment becomes much more favourable for growth. In the resting phase the alga accumulates high amounts of astaxanthin. Magnification: x600 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.

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