Identification of carotenoids with high antioxidant capacity produced by extremophile microorganisms

World J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Apr;28(4):1781-90. doi: 10.1007/s11274-011-0993-y. Epub 2011 Dec 31.


In this study, the carotenoids produced by the extremophile microorganisms Halococcus morrhuae, Halobacterium salinarium and Thermus filiformis were separated and identified by high-performance liquid chromatography connected to a diode array detector and a tandem mass spectrometer. The in vitro scavenging capacity of the carotenoid extracts against radical and non-radical species was evaluated. In halophilic microorganisms, the following carotenoids were identified: bacterioruberin, bisanhydrobacterioruberin, trisanhydrobacterioruberin and their derivatives. In the thermophilic bacterium, the carotenoids all-trans-zeaxanthin, zeaxanthin monoglucoside, thermozeaxanthins and thermobiszeaxanthins were identified. The antioxidant capacities of the carotenoid extracts of H. morrhuae (trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity = 5.07 and IC(50) = 0.85 μg mL(-1)) and H. salinarium (trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity = 5.28 and IC(50) = 0.84 μg mL(-1)) were similar and higher than those of the bacterium T. filiformis (trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity = 2.87 and IC(50) = 2.41 μg mL(-1)). This difference is related to the presence of acyclic carotenoids with both large numbers of conjugated double bounds and of hydroxyl groups in the major carotenoid of the halophilic microorganisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification*
  • Carotenoids / analysis
  • Carotenoids / isolation & purification*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Halobacterium / chemistry*
  • Halococcus / chemistry*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Thermus / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Carotenoids