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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2006 Feb;255(2):215-24.

Carotenoids present in halotolerant Bacillus spore formers.

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School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey, UK.


Six isolates of pigmented spore-forming bacteria were recovered from human faeces from subjects in Vietnam. 16S rRNA analysis demonstrated close association with known pigmented Bacillus species. All isolates were able to tolerate growth on 8% NaCl and were resistant to arsenate, characteristics that make them most related to Bacillus indicus. Two visible pigments were apparent, a yellow pigment found in vegetative cells and an orange pigment found only in spores. We used high-performance liquid chromatography to characterize and quantify these pigments and found them to be carotenoids. The biosynthetic pathway that generates them branches with one that could lead to the spore-associated orange pigmentation. Although these bacteria were found in faeces, the seafood-rich diet of Vietnam and the recovery of other pigmented Bacillus species from seafood and marine environments makes it highly probable that the true origin of these bacteria is from ingested seafood.

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