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Name derivation:

"Red coccoid cell" -- Red Haemato- coccoid cell –coccus



Haematococcus  Flotow  1844.

Order Chlamydomonadales;  Family Haematococcaceae



Solitary cells appearing ovoid to ellipsoidal with a protoplast attached to the cell wall with thin branched cytoplasmic strands.  Biflagellate stage is surrounded by a wide gelatinous capsule with two flagella extending beyond the capsule, and contains a cup-shaped chloroplast often masked by β-carotene.  The coccoid stage is spherical, varying in color from green to red due to β-carotene (2.2%), astaxanthin (free < 1%, monoester 12.4%, diester 28.8%), canthaxanthin (44.3%) and lutein (11.4%). The total amount of carotenoid was 2.0% of dry algae (Choubert and Heinrich  1997).


Similar genera:


First recorded in Poland in small coastal and inland rocky pools.  Mostly temporary in environments due to fluctuating water levels in fresh water pools to coastal ponds with unstable temperatures and salinities.

Common in birdbaths.


Commercial use:

Valuable in pisciculture of salmon, adding red color to flesh (Choubert and Heinrich 1993, Borowitzka 1997) .


Borowitzka, M.A.  1997.  Microalgae for aquaculture:  Opportunities and constraints.  J. Applied Phycol. 9:393-401.

Choubert G, Heinrich O (1993) Carotenoid pigments of the green alga Haematococcus pluvialis – Assay on Rainbow Trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, pigmentation in comparison with synthetic astaxanthin and canthaxanthin. Aquaculture 112: 217–226.

Flotow, J. von  1844.  Beobachtungen überHaematococcus pluvialis.  Verh. K. Leopol.-Carol. Akad. Naturf. 20: