Pigments in an iridescent bacterium, Cellulophaga fucicola, isolated from Antarctica.


Institute of Biology, Campinas State University (UNICAMP), P.O. Box 6109, Campinas, SP, Brazil. [Email]


An iridescent yellow pigmented bacterium isolated from the Antarctic continent, named Cellulophaga fucicola strain 416, was found to be able to tolerate UV-B radiation. Its crude pigment extract was tested for antioxidant capacity, UV light stability and phototoxicity profile against murine fibroblast lines. The pigments were further isolated and chemically identified by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography with photodiode array and mass spectrometry detectors. The results showed that the pigment extract presented weak stability under exposure to UV light, a phototoxic profile in the 3t3 Neutral Red Uptake test and a very high antioxidant activity, suggesting that it could be used as food and feed colourants. Zeaxanthin and two isomers of zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin and β-carotene, were identified using a C18 column. These five carotenoids were the major pigments isolated from C. fucicola 416. In conclusion, the identification of pigments produced by the bacterial strain under study may help us understand how bacteria thrive in high UV and cold environments, and opens avenues for further biotechnological application towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way of pigment exploitation.


Antarctic,Antioxidant,Carotenoids,Cellulophaga fucicola,Iridescent bacterium,Pigments,