Haematococcus pluvialis is a freshwater species of Chlorophyta from the family Haematococcaceae. This species is well known for its high content of the strong antioxidant astaxanthin, that is important in aquaculture, various pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. The high amount of astaxanthin is present in the resting cells, which are produced and rapidly accumulated when the environmental conditions becomes unfavorable for normal cell growth. Examples of such conditions are i.e. high light, high salinity or low nutrients. Haematococcus pluvialis is usually found in temperate regions around the world. Their resting cysts are often responsible for the blood-red colour seen in the bottom of dried out rock pools and bird baths. This colour is caused by astaxanthin which is believed to protect the resting cysts from the detrimental effect of UV-radiation, when exposed to direct sunlight.

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