Haloferax mediterranei produces C50 carotenoids that have strong antioxidant properties. The response surface methodology (RSM) tool helps to accurately analyze the most suitable conditions to maximize C50 carotenoids production by haloarchaea. The effects of temperature (15⁻50 °C), pH (4-10), and salinity (5⁻28% NaCl (w/v)) on the growth and carotenoid content of H. mediterranei were analyzed using the RSM approach. Growth was determined by measuring the turbidity at 600 nm. To determine the carotenoid content, harvested cells were lysed by freeze/thawing, then re-suspended in acetone and the total carotenoid content determined by measuring the absorbance at 494 nm. The analysis of carotenoids was performed by an HPLC system coupled with mass spectrometry. The results indicated the theoretical optimal conditions of 36.51 or 36.81 °C, pH of 8.20 or 8.96, and 15.01% or 12.03% (w/v) salinity for the growth of haloarchaea (OD600 = 12.5 ± 0.64) and production of total carotenoids (3.34 ± 0.29 mg/L), respectively. These conditions were validated experimentally for growth (OD600 = 13.72 ± 0.98) and carotenoid production (3.74 ± 0.20 mg/L). The carotenoid profile showed four isomers of bacterioruberin (89.13%). Our findings suggest that the RSM approach is highly useful for determining optimal conditions for large-scale production of bacterioruberin by haloarchaea.
Keywords: Haloferax mediterranei; bacterioruberin; central composite design (CCD); response surface methodology (RSM).