Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 112, Issue 3, pp 479–490 | Cite as

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

  • Tiago R. SilvaEmail author
  • Ramon Canela-Garayoa
  • Jordi Eras
  • Marili V. N. Rodrigues
  • Fábio N. dos Santos
  • Marcos N. Eberlin
  • Iramaia A. Neri-Numa
  • Glaucia M. Pastore
  • Renata S. N. Tavares
  • Hosana M. Debonsi
  • Lorena R. G. Cordeiro
  • Luiz H. Rosa
  • Valéria M. OliveiraEmail author
Short Communication


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.


Iridescent bacterium Cellulophaga fucicola Antioxidant Carotenoids Antarctic Pigments 



We would like to thank the MycoAntar Project (CNPq), and the Brazilian Antarctic Program for making the sampling feasible in the OPERANTAR XXXIII (summer 2014/2015) and OPERANTAR XXXIV (summer 2015/2016).

Author contribution

RC-G and JE helped with the carotenoids identification. MVNR, FNdosS, MNE, helped with HPLC/MS interpretations. IAN-N and GMP performed the antioxidant tests. RSNT, HMD and LRGC performed the phototoxicity and photostability tests. LHR was the responsible for the Antarctica expedition, who made the sample collection feasible. VMO is the chief of laboratory.


This study was funded by São Paulo Research Foundation—FAPESP (Grant Nos. 2014/17936-1, 2016/05640-6, 2017/21790-0).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

10482_2018_1179_MOESM1_ESM.docx (747 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 746 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiago R. Silva
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ramon Canela-Garayoa
    • 3
  • Jordi Eras
    • 3
  • Marili V. N. Rodrigues
    • 4
  • Fábio N. dos Santos
    • 5
  • Marcos N. Eberlin
    • 5
  • Iramaia A. Neri-Numa
    • 6
  • Glaucia M. Pastore
    • 6
  • Renata S. N. Tavares
    • 7
  • Hosana M. Debonsi
    • 7
  • Lorena R. G. Cordeiro
    • 7
  • Luiz H. Rosa
    • 8
  • Valéria M. Oliveira
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of BiologyCampinas State University (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Division of Microbial Resources, Chemical, Biological and Agricultural Pluridisciplinary Research Center (CPQBA)Campinas State UniversityCampinasBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry, ETSEAUniversity of Lleida-Agrotecnio CenterLleidaSpain
  4. 4.Department of Organic Chemistry, Chemical, Biological and Agricultural Pluridisciplinary Research Center (CPQBA)Campinas State UniversityCampinasBrazil
  5. 5.ThoMSon Mass Spectrometry LaboratoryCampinas State University (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  6. 6.Department of Food Science, School of Food EngineeringUniversity of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  7. 7.School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ribeirão PretoUniversity of Sao Paulo (USP)Ribeirão PretoBrazil
  8. 8.Department of Microbiology, Institute of Biological ScienceFederal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil

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