Can growth of nannochloropsis oculata under modulated stress enhance its lipid-associated biological properties?

Sérgio C. Sousa*, Manuela Machado, Ana C. Freitas, Ana M. Gomes, Ana P. Carvalho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Nannochloropsis oculata is well-recognized as a potential microalgal source of valuable compounds such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The content and profile of these lipids is highly dependent on the growth conditions and can, therefore, be tailored through modulation of the growth parameters, specifically, temperature. Moreover, biological activities are composition dependent. In the present work, lipid extracts obtained from N. oculata, grown under constant temperature and under modulated temperature stress (to increase EPA content; Str) were characterized by GC-FID and several bioactivities were evaluated, namely, antioxidant (L-ORACFL), cytotoxic (MTT), adipolytic, anti-hepatic lipid accumulation (steatosis), and anti-inflammatory properties. Both extracts exhibited antioxidant activity (c.a. 49 µmol Troloxequivalent/mgextract) and the absence of toxicity (up to 800 µg/mL) toward colon and hepatic cells, adipocytes, and macrophages. They also induced adipolysis and the inhibition of triglycerides hepatic accumulation, with a higher impact from Str. In addition, anti-inflammatory activity was observed in the lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation of macrophages in the presence of either extract, since lower levels of pro-inflammatory interleukin-6 and interferon-β were obtained, specifically by Str. The results presented herein revealed that modulated temperature stress may enhance the health effects of N. oculata lipid extracts, which may be safely utilized to formulate novel food products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number737
Number of pages18
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2022


  • Adipolysis
  • Anti-inflammatory activity
  • Antioxidant capacity
  • Cytokines
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Metabolic activity
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Steatosis


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