, Volume 255, Issue 3, pp 885–898 | Cite as

Composition and functional property of photosynthetic pigments under circadian rhythm in the cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis

  • Deepak Kumar
  • Vinod K. Kannaujiya
  • Richa
  • Jainendra Pathak
  • Shanthy Sundaram
  • Rajeshwar P. Sinha
Original Article


Circadian rhythm is an important endogenous biological signal for sustainable growth and development of cyanobacteria in natural ecosystems. Circadian effects of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), ultraviolet-A (UV-A) and ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiations on pigment composition have been studied in the cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis under light (L)/dark (D) oscillation with a combination of 4/20, 8/16, 12/12, 16/8, 20/4 and 24/24 h time duration. Circadian exposure of PAR + UV-A (PA) and PAR + UV-A + UV-B (PAB) showed more than twofold decline in Chl a, total protein and phycocyanin (PC) in light phase and significant recovery was achieved in dark phase. The fluorescence emission wavelength of PC was shifted towards lower wavelengths in the light phase of PAB in comparison to P and PA whereas the same wavelength was retrieved in the dark phase. The production of free radicals was accelerated twofold in the light phase (24 h L) whereas the same was retrieved to the level of control during the dark phase. Oxidatively induced damage was alleviated by antioxidative enzymes such as catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POD), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) in the light phase (0–24-h L) whereas the dark phase showed significant inhibition of the same enzymes. Similar characteristic inhibition of free radicals and recovery of PC was observed inside cellular filament after circadian rhythm of 24/24 h (L/D). Circadian exposure of P, PA and PAB significantly altered the synthesis and recovery of pigments that could be crucial for optimization and sustainable production of photosynthetic products for human welfare.


Antioxidative enzymes Circadian rhythm Free radicals Phycocyanin Ultraviolet radiation 



Ascorbate peroxidase




2′,7′-Dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate














Photosynthetically active radiation




Reactive oxygen species


Superoxide dismutase







We are thankful to the Interdisciplinary School of Life Sciences (ISLS), BHU, Varanasi, India, for providing access to the fluorescence microscopy facility.

Author’s contributions

V.K. Kannaujiya designed the experiments, evaluated the results and wrote the manuscript. D. Kumar performed the experiments and analyzed data. Richa and J. Pathak performed writing and editing of the manuscript. S. Sundaram critically analyzed the manuscript. R.P. Sinha supervised the experiments and critically analyzed the manuscript.

Funding information

Deepak Kumar is thankful to the Department of Science and Technology, Inspire Program, New Delhi, India, for the financial assistance in the form of a junior research fellowship (DST/Inspire Fellowship/2015/IF150191). Vinod K. Kannaujiya is thankful to the University Grant Commission (UGC), New Delhi, India, for the Dr. D.S. Kothari Postdoctoral Research Grant (F.4-2/2006(BSR)/14-15/0526). Richa is thankful to the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, New Delhi, for providing the financial support in the form of a fellowship under the project (No. SR/WOS-A/LS-140/2011). The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, India, is thankfully acknowledged for the financial support in the form of a senior research fellowship (09/013/0515/2013-EMR-I) sanctioned to Jainendra Pathak.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Photobiology and Molecular Microbiology, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Institute of ScienceBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia
  2. 2.Centre of Biotechnology, Nehru Science CentreUniversity of AllahabadAllahabadIndia

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