Cell membrane fatty acid and pigment composition of the psychrotolerant cyanobacterium Nodularia spumigena CHS1 isolated from Hopar glacier, Pakistan


In the present study, cyanobacterium isolate CHS1 isolated from Hopar glacier, Pakistan, was analyzed for the first time for cell membrane fatty acids and production of pigments. Sequencing of the 16-23S intergenetic region confirmed identification of the isolate CHS1 as Nodularia spumigena. All chlorophyll and carotenoid pigments were quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography and experiments to test tolerance against a range of physico-chemical conditions were conducted. Likewise, the fatty acid profile of the cell membrane CHS1 was analyzed using gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy. The cyanobacterium isolate CHS1 demonstrated tolerance to 8 g/L% NaCl, 35°C and pH 5–9. The characteristic polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) of isolate CHS1, C18:4, was observed in fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) extracted from the cell membrane. CHS1 was capable of producing saturated fatty acids (SFA) (e.g., C16:0), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) (e.g., C18:1) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g., C20:5) in the cell membrane. In this study, we hypothesize that one mechanism of cold adaptation displayed by isolate CHS1 is the accumulation of high amounts of PUFA in the cell membrane.

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The research work was financially supported by Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, United Kingdom. In addition, NERC Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, also supported this study.

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Hassan, N., Anesio, A.M., Rafiq, M. et al. Cell membrane fatty acid and pigment composition of the psychrotolerant cyanobacterium Nodularia spumigena CHS1 isolated from Hopar glacier, Pakistan. Extremophiles 24, 135–145 (2020) doi:10.1007/s00792-019-01141-4

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  • Nodularia spumigena CHS1
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Cell membrane
  • FAMEs
  • Hopar glacier