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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 168-174  

Antioxidant, antibacterial, and ultraviolet-protective properties of carotenoids isolated from Micrococcus spp.

Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Jnana Bharathi Campus, Bangalore University, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication8-Oct-2014

Correspondence Address:
Devihalli Chikkaiah Mohana
Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Jnana Bharathi Campus, Bangalore University, Bengaluru - 560 056, Karnataka
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Source of Support: Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and University Grant Commission, New Delhi, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-0464.142394

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Carotenoids are the most common naturally occurring bioactive terpenoid pigments, which are commonly produced by a wide variety of plants and microbes. The present study was aimed to evaluate the antioxidant, antimicrobial and radio-protective properties of carotenoid pigments isolated from ultraviolet (UV)-C resistant Micrococcus spp. The UV-C resistant Micrococcus roseus and Micrococcus luteus were isolated from the soil samples of Savandurga hills region, Karnataka (India), and their pigments were identified as carotenoids based on spectral analysis. The UV-protective efficacies were determined by cling-film assay. Further, the antioxidant activities of pigments were evaluated by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl assay, and antibacterial activities by disc diffusion and broth microdilution assays. The optimum growth and pigment production by M. roseus and M. luteus were observed at temperature ranged between 35°C and 37°C, pH 7.0-8.0, NaCl 5.0-7.0%, and sucrose as major carbon and KNO 3 as major nitrogen sources. In the present investigation, the isolated carotenoid pigments of M. roseus and M. luteus showed significant UV protective activity along with antioxidant (IC 50 3.5-4.5 mg/mL) and antibacterial (minimal inhibitory concentration 0.25-2.0 mg/mL) properties.

Keywords: Antibacterial, antioxidant, carotenoids, Micrococcus luteus, Micrococcus roseus, ultraviolet-protection

How to cite this article:
Mohana DC, Thippeswamy S, Abhishek RU. Antioxidant, antibacterial, and ultraviolet-protective properties of carotenoids isolated from Micrococcus spp. Radiat Prot Environ 2013;36:168-74

How to cite this URL:
Mohana DC, Thippeswamy S, Abhishek RU. Antioxidant, antibacterial, and ultraviolet-protective properties of carotenoids isolated from Micrococcus spp. Radiat Prot Environ [serial online] 2013 [cited 2022 Nov 29];36:168-74. Available from: https://www.rpe.org.in/text.asp?2013/36/4/168/142394

  Introduction Top

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is one of the energetic electromagnetic radiation, which causes both indirect and direct damage to living organisms. [1] Many synthetic UV-protective agents and pigments have been used in cosmetics, pharmaceutical and radiation industries, are known to have health hazards and safety problems. Hence, there is an increased interest for searching alternative UV-protective, as well as bioactive carotenoid pigments from natural origin due to their less or no toxicity, as they are easily decomposable, not environmental pollutants and possess no residues. [2] Several researchers have reported that some pigmented bacteria, which are rich in carotenoids have been resistant to radiation when subjected to sub-lethal and lethal doses of ionizing radiations, due to the accumulation of the radio-protective pigments in the outer membrane. [3-6]

Carotenoids are the terpenoid pigments produced by a wide variety of plants and microbes, which are reported to have radio-protective property. [7] Carotenoid pigments of bacterial origin have been reported to have radio-protective and antioxidant properties, and as natural coloring agents. [8],[9] Several epidemiological studies demonstrated that an increased consumption of a diet rich in carotenoids reduces oxidative damage of cells by scavenging free radicals and reactive oxygen species. [7-10] Carotenoid pigments extracted from bacteria are more acceptable, because of their safety, capability to use a wide range of carbon and nitrogen sources, predictable yield and pigments can be easily separated from the cell mass. [11]

The genus Micrococcus are Gram-positive, non-spore forming and aerobic coccoid, they are rich in carotenoid pigments, which are known to have radio-protective and bioactive properties. [12],[13] Even though the carotenoid pigments produced by the genus Micrococcus are useful for the industry, particularly in food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and dye industries, [12] but a scientific and systematic investigation with regards to UV-protective pigments and their various biological activities is lacking. Considering these, we screened different soil samples for isolation of UV-resistant bacteria particularly Micrococcus spp. The objective of this study was (i) to analyze the growth and resistance of the pigmented bacteria to UV-C, (ii) to isolate the UV-protective pigments from radiation-resistant bacteria, and (iii) to investigate their biological activities.

  Materials and methods Top

Chemicals and culture media

All culture media and ingredients were purchased from Hi-Media, Mumbai (India). All solvents, reagents, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and iodo-nitro-tetrazolium were purchased from SRL, Mumbai. Microtiter-plates (96-well) were purchased from Axiva, New Delhi (India). The 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) was obtained from Sigma, Germany. Silica gel 60 F 254 -coated preparative thin layer chromatography (TLC) plates were obtained from Merck, Germany.

Isolation of ultraviolet-C resistant Micrococcus species

The UV-C resistant bacteria were isolated and identified following the standard procedures. [14-16] Briefly, soil samples were collected from the different regions of Savandurga hills area (Karnataka, India), where the soils were directly exposed to sunlight. The samples were subjected to UV-C irradiation (UV-C [30 W], Philips, Holland) for 30 min, serially diluted and plated onto the nutrient agar (NA) medium by agar pour plate method [16] and the plates were incubated at 37 ± 2°C for 3d. The pigmented bacteria appeared on NA were isolated, and pure-cultures were made. UV-resistance ability of the pure cultures were determined following the procedures of Jacobs and Sundin [15] with some slight modifications. Briefly, the bacterial cultures in the exponential phase (10 8 colony-forming unit [CFU]/mL) were transferred to a sterile plastic tissue culture dish (100 mm Χ 20 mm, depth of the liquid <2 mm) and exposed to UV-C at different intervals viz., 0, 30, 60, 90, and 120 min. The resistance potencies of the pigmented bacteria to UV-C was assessed by determining the percent cell viability by recording the numbers of CFU after 3d of incubation on NA at 37 ± 2°C. [14],[17] The standard Streptococcus faecalis served as an indicator organism. The percent cell viability was determined using the formula:

Identification of ultraviolet-C resistant Micrococcus roseus and Micrococcus luteus and their optimal growth conditions

The pure cultures of M. roseus (isolate 11R) and M. luteus (isolate 5Y) showed promising UV-resistant activities up to 120 min, were identified following the standard procedures. [18-21] Briefly, the cultures in the exponential phase of growth were observed microscopically (Olympus, CKX-41) for their cell morphology, and motility was determined by hanging drop method. [19] The biochemical characteristics of M. roseus and M. luteus were determined. [20],[21] The % mol of G + C content was determined by thermal denaturation (Tm ) method. [18]

The optimum physiological growth parameters of M. roseus and M. luteus were determined following the procedure of Aneja. [21] Briefly, the cultures were grown at different temperature (25°C, 30°C, 35°C, 37°C, 40°C, 45°C, and 50°C), pH (6, 7, 8, 9, and 10) and NaCl concentrations (5.0%, 7.0%, 9.0%, 10.0%, and 12.0%). Different carbon and nitrogen sources were tested to determine best carbon and nitrogen sources for optimum growth and pigment production at 0.2% (w/v) concentration. After 3d incubation, the bacterial turbidity in different physiological parameters was measured spectrophotometrically by recording optical density at 550 nm (ELICO SL-210, India).

Extraction, isolation and identification of pigments from ultraviolet-C resistant Micrococcus roseus and Micrococcus luteus

The extraction and isolation of pigments from M. roseus and M. luteus were carried out following the procedure of Lu et al.[2] Briefly, 10 mL of inoculum was transferred into Erlenmeyer flask containing 300 mL of nutrient broth, then incubated in rotary shaker incubator up to 5d. After incubation, the cultures were centrifuged at 10,000 rpm for 15 min at 4°C, and the cell pellets were collected. The collected pellets were extracted with cold methanol, then separated from the cells by centrifugation at 10,000 rpm for 15 min at 4°C. The methanolic extract of pigments was concentrated in vacuo and purified by column chromatography followed by preparative TLC, and the purified pigments were identified by λ-max spectroscopic analysis and comparison with reported literatures.

Ultraviolet-C protective effects of carotenoid pigments

The protective efficacies of carotenoid pigments of M. roseus and M. luteus were tested against UV-C following the procedure of Delpech. [22] Briefly, 1 mL of UV susceptible S. faecalis was taken in a sterile watch glass, and then covered by cling film at the top and 2 mL of pigment solution (dissolved in aqueous methanol [9:1, v/v]) was placed in a depression, and treated with UV-C at different intervals. Aqueous methanol (9:1, v/v) was used as control. After exposure, 2 μl of sample from watch glass was transferred to NA by pour plate method and the percent surviving cells were determined by counting CFU.

Antioxidant activities of carotenoid pigments

The antioxidant activities of the isolated carotenoid pigments of M. roseus and M. luteus were determined using DPPH radical scavenging assay. [23] Briefly, desired different concentrations of the pigments were made using methanol (0.25-10 mg/mL). A volume of 1 mL of each dilution was mixed with 3 mL of freshly prepared methanol solution of DPPH (40 μg/mL) and incubated for 30 min in the dark at room temperature. The carotenoid pigments in 3 mL of methanol without DPPH were served as blank, methanol solution of DPPH (devoid of pigment) served as control and BHT was standard. The absorbance of the solutions was recorded using UV-VIS spectrophotometer (ELICO SL-210, India) at 517 nm. Percent inhibition of DPPH radicals was calculated by following formula:

where AControl is the absorbance of the control and ASample is the absorbance of the test samples.

Antibacterial activities of carotenoid pigments

Bacterial strains

The human pathogenic Escherichia coli (NCIM 2065), Staphylococcus aureus (NCIM 2079), and S. faecalis (NCIM 5025) were obtained from the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune (India). All the tested bacteria were maintained on Mueller-Hinton agar (MHA) and 24 h old cultures were used for the assay.

Disc diffusion method

The disc diffusion method was employed for the determination of the zone of inhibition (ZOI) according to the method of Ebrahimabadi et al. [23] Briefly, sterile filter paper discs (6 mm in diameter) were individually impregnated with 20 μL of carotenoid pigments (0.25-10 mg/disc) dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), placed onto the preinoculated MHA plates (inoculum size: 100 μL of suspension containing 10 8 CFU/mL of bacteria) and incubated at 37°C. DMSO served as a negative control and neomycin (0.25 mg/disc) as standard. The ZOI diameters were measured in millimeters (mm).

Determination of minimal inhibitory concentration/minimal bactericidal concentration

The broth microdilution method was employed to determine the minimal inhibitory concentration/minimal bactericidal concentration (MIC/MBC) of carotenoid pigments of M. roseus and M. luteus, following the procedure of Hajji et al.[24] Briefly, 200 μL of desired different concentrations of carotenoid pigments in MHB (0.25-10 mg/mL) was added separately to the wells of a sterile 96-well microtiter plate and inoculated with 15 μL of a microbial suspension containing 10 8 CFU/mL of test bacteria, and incubated at 37°C for 24 h. DMSO served as a negative control, and neomycin was used as a standard. After incubation, 5 μL of the cultured broth was transferred onto the NA and incubated at 37°C for 24 h. The MIC was defined as the lowest concentration of the pigment required for inhibiting the growth of bacteria, whereas MBC was defined as the lowest concentration of the pigment required to prevent the bacterial growth completely on pigment-free agar medium.

  Results and discussion Top

The damage caused by UV irradiation, and serious environmental and safety problems caused by many synthetic pigments have led to search for UV-protective and safe pigments from natural sources. [2] Hence, the isolation of UV-protective pigments from microbes is one of the promising alternative strategy. In the present investigation, we have isolated UV-resistant different pigmented bacteria from soil samples collected from the different regions of Savandurga hills area (Karnataka, India), where the soils were directly exposed to sunlight.

Among the bacteria isolated, red-pigmented M. roseus and yellow-pigmented M. luteus were found to be dominant in the UV-C irradiated soil samples and these bacterial counts ranged from 1.5 Χ 10 3 to 2.5 Χ 10 3 cells/g of soil. A total of 22 red-pigmented and 19 yellow-pigmented colonies were isolated and sub-cultured based on the colony characteristics, and then exposed to UV-C. Out of these, 12 red-pigmented and 9 yellow-pigmented bacteria showed strong resistance to UV-C with percentage coefficient of variation (%CV) ranged 70-95% at 120 min exposure. Among which the red-pigmented (11R) and yellow-pigmented (5Y) bacteria showed strong UV-resistance with %CV value ranged 90-95% and more pigmentation, were selected for identification and pigment extraction. On the NA, colonies of the selected isolates (11R and 5Y) were circular, convex with a smooth margin and their diameter varied from 0.5 to 2.0 mm [Figure 1]. Under microscopic observation, both isolates appeared as Gram-positive with tetrads of cocci in shape [Figure 2]. Morphological and biochemical properties of the isolated bacteria are shown in [Table 1]. The % mol of G + C content was ranged 71.8-73%. Based on the physicochemical and biochemical characteristics, the red-pigmented isolate (11R) was identified as M. roseus and yellow-pigmented isolate (5Y) was M. luteus.
Figure 1: Ultraviolet resitant pigmented Micrococcus roseus (a) and Micrococcus luteus (b) grown on nutrient agar

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Figure 2: Microscopic observation of Gram stained Micrococcus luteus (×100)

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Table 1: Morphological and biochemical characteristics of M. roseus and M. luteus

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As shown in [Figure 3]a-e temperature, pH, NaCl concentration, carbon and nitrogen sources have affected the growth and pigment production significantly. The M. roseus exhibited optimum growth at 37°C and pH 8.0, whereas M. luteus at 35°C and pH 7.0. The optimum NaCl required for growth was 7.0%, but the growth was not completely inhibited even at 12% concentration. The cultures could grow best when sucrose and KNO 3 supplemented as major carbon and nitrogen sources, respectively. The present investigation confirms that the bacterial growth and pigment production was dependent upon physiological parameters.
Figure 3: Effect of different physiological parameters on growth of Micrococcus roseus and Micrococcus luteus (a → Effect of temperature; b →Effect of pH; c → Effect of sodium chloride concentration; d → Effect of carbon sources; e → Effect of nitrogen sources)

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After 5d incubation, the yield of pigment and biomass of M. roseus was ranged between 18.9-19.1 g/L and 28.4-28.9 mg/g, whereas M. luteus was 15.33-15.76 g/L and 26.1-26.9 mg/g, respectively. The purified pigments of M. roseus and M. luteus were analyzed using a spectrophotometer, and the maximum absorptions (λ-max) were observed at 476.31 and 437.16 nm, respectively [Figure 4]. Based on the spectral analysis (λ-max) and comparison with reported literature, the pigments isolated from M. roseus and M. luteus were identified as carotenoids. The UV-C protective efficacies of carotenoid pigments of M. roseus and M. luteus were tested against UV-C sensitive S. faecalis. The %CV of test organism in control was 0.0%, while the test organism covered with red-carotenoid of M. roseus and yellow-carotenoid of M. luteus was resistant to UV-C even up to 120 min exposure [Table 2]. The results clearly confirm that both the red and yellow carotenoid pigments isolated from M. roseus and M. luteus showed UV protective properties.
Figure 4: Ultraviolet spectra of carotenoid pigments isolated from Micrococcus roseus (a) and Micrococcus luteus (b)

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Table 2: Efficacy of UV - C protective activity of carotenoid pigments isolated from M. roseus and M. luteus on growth of S. faecalis

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Both red- and yellow-carotenoids of M. roseus and M. luteus showed concentration-dependent antioxidant and antibacterial activities [Table 3]. In antioxidant activity assay, the IC 50 values of red- and yellow-carotenoids were found to be 3.5 mg/mL and 4.5 mg/mL, respectively, and the results were compared with BHT. The order of antioxidant activity was BHT > red-carotenoid (M. roseus) > yellow-carotenoid (M. luteus). In antibacterial activity assay, both the carotenoid pigments did not show any inhibitory activity against Gram-negative E. coli, but they were active against Gram-positive bacteria with ZOI, MIC, and MBC ranged 6.5-15.0 mm, 0.25-2.0 mg/mL, and 6.0-10.0 mg/mL, respectively, and the results were compared with standard antibiotic neomycin. The order of inhibitory activity against bacteria was neomycin > red-carotenoid (M. roseus) > yellow-carotenoid (M. luteus). These results are of great importance, particularly for S. aureus, which is well known for being resistant to a number of antibiotics. [25]
Table 3: Antioxidant and antibacterial activities of carotenoid pigments isolated from UV - C resistant M. roseus and M. luteus

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Synthetic antioxidants play an important role in preventing major degenerative diseases caused by free radicals and protecting foodstuffs from lipid oxidation. [26] However, with increasing documentation of possible adverse effects of some synthetic antioxidants on human health, there is an increasing interest in finding natural and biologically produced antioxidants. Further, the emergence of bacterial strains resistant to clinically used antibiotics and changing patterns of susceptibility to clinically available antimicrobial agents require continuous updating of knowledge concerning the treatment of diseases caused by such pathogens. [27],[28] Considering these factors, both red and yellow carotenoids of M. roseus and M. luteus could be explored as potential alternatives for managing diseases caused by free radicals and microbes. Further, in vivo studies of these carotenoids are being investigated.

  Conclusion Top

In this investigation, the carotenoid pigments isolated from M. roseus and M. luteus showed promising UV-protective, antioxidant and antibacterial activities. The growth and pigment production was dependent on temperature, pH, NaCl, and carbon and nitrogen sources. To the best of our knowledge, we are reporting here the UV-protective, antioxidant and antibacterial activities of carotenoids of M. roseus and M. luteus for the first time. The findings indicate the possible exploration of these pigments as natural coloring agents in food and pharmaceutical industries and UV-protective agents in cosmetics, after clinical evaluations.

  References Top

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

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19 Chemical Profile and In-Vitro Pharmacological activities of Yellow Pigment Extracted from Arthrobacter gandavensis
Muhammad Numan,Samina Bashir,Roqayya Mumtaz,Sibgha Tayyab,Ikram Ullah,Abdul Latif Khan,Zabta Khan Shinwari,Ahmed Al-Harrasi
Process Biochemistry. 2018;
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20 Rhizophagy Cycle: An Oxidative Process in Plants for Nutrient Extraction from Symbiotic Microbes
James White,Kathryn Kingsley,Satish Verma,Kurt Kowalski
Microorganisms. 2018; 6(3): 95
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21 Antimicrobial activity of Micrococcus luteus Cartenoid pigment
Huda Z. Majeed
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22 Equilibrium and Kinetics Studies of Gentian Violet Dye Adsorption on to Activated Carbon Prepared From Aldhnan Hull
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23 Bioprospecting studies of pigmenting Pseudomonas aeruginosa SU-1, Microvirga aerilata SU14 and Bacillus megaterium SU15 isolated from garden soil
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Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology. 2017; 11: 330
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24 Food Additives: Production of Microbial Pigments and their Antioxidant Properties
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Current Opinion in Food Science. 2016;
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