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Research Article
Over Production of Phycocyanin Pigment in Blue Green Alga Spirulina sp. and It`s Inhibitory Effect on Growth of Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma Cells

Hanaa H. Abd El-Baky

Journal of Medical Sciences, 2003, 3(4), 314-324.


Two species of blue green algae Spirulina platensis and Spirulina maxima were grown in nutrient medium containing different nitrogen and salt levels. In both species increasing nitrogen levels led to increase in phycocyanin pigments from 12.08 to 22.3% and soluble protein content from 29.7 to 86.1 mg g -1. Also, Spirulina has great variety in composition of phycocyanin pigments ranging from C-phycocyanin (C-PC) from 1.65 to 4.02%, allophycocyanin (A-PC) from 2.53 to 6.11% and R-phycocyanin (R-PC) from 5.75 to 12.35% as a results, of changing nitrogen contents and salt stress. Spirulina platensis at high nitrogen level gave highest percentage of total phycocyanin 9.94% and R-CP 5.75% was the predominate among phycocyanin pigments. The increasing in NaCl levels in nutrient medium led to production significant in phycocyanin contents and soluble protein in Spirulina platensis and Spirulina maxima cells. The composition of phycocyanin pigment was changed markedly as results of increasing in NaCl level. Both algal species grown under combined stress (nitrogen deficient and high NaCl level) produced higher amount of phycocyanin than control. The anti-carcinoma activity of Spirulina towered Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma Cells (EACC) was evaluated by cell viability, DNA fragmentation and enzymes assay. Phycocyanin significantly inhibited the growth of EACC in a dose-dependent manner. Phycocyanin did not induce DNA fragmentation in EACC, (no ladder of DNA fragments). However, glutathione (GST), the activity of glutathione S- transferase (GST) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were significantly increased over the control level. These findings indicate that phycocyanin may be able to inhibit the growth of EACC by membrane destructor, which led to increase the leakage of cell constituent and increase LDH and GST enzyme activities. Therefore, algal phycocyanin may have antitumor activity and could be used as a chemoprventive agent.

ASCI-ID: 41-210

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