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Isolation and Identification of a Red Pigment from the Antarctic Bacterium Shewanella frigidimarina

[ Vol. 22 , Issue. 12 ]


Maria Luisa Martín-Cerezo, Eva García-López and Cristina Cid   Pages 1076 - 1082 ( 7 )


The present study dealt with the isolation, identification and characterization of pigments from red snow samples of the Quito coastal front glacier (S 62º 27,217’, W 059º 45,960’) in Greenwich, Archipelago South Shetland, Antarctica, during summer 2013. As a strain of Shewanella was found to be the most common and abundant species with maximum red color production, the pigment -contained in the protein fraction- was isolated and characterized by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), two-dimensional fluorescence Difference Gel Electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) and matrix- assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI/TOF/TOF). The identified pigment is a cytochrome c3 with apparent molecular weight of 10 kDa and apparent pI around 4.5. The maximum pigment concentration was produced at warm temperatures, 28ºC, and with increasing exposure time to UV radiation.

Here we demonstrate that the synthesis of cytochrome c3 by the Antarctic bacterium is due to thermal adaptation and/or adaptation to radiation. Further, pigments such as cytochrome c3 enable this bacterial species to use an anaerobic and ferric metabolism. In addition, this study draws attention to the relevance of adaptation investigations; to the study of in vivo monitoring of environmental warming and UV radiation due to global warming; and to the study of the potential habitability of other worlds in the Solar System and beyond.


Psychrophile, pigment, cytochrome, Shewanella, UV radiation, 2-D DIGE, HPLC, MALDI/TOF/TOF, Antarctica.


Microbial Evolution Laboratory, Center for Astrobiology (CSIC-INTA), Ctra. Ajalvir, km 4, 28850 Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain.

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