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Arch Microbiol. 1997 Oct;168(4):277-81.

The major carotenoid in all known species of heliobacteria is the C30 carotenoid 4,4'-diaponeurosporene, not neurosporene.

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Biological Laboratory, Nippon Medical School, 297, Kosugi-cho 2, Nakahara, Kawasaki 211, Japan.


The carotenoids of five species of heliobacteria (Heliobacillus mobilis, Heliophilum fasciatum, Heliobacterium chlorum, Heliobacterium modesticaldum, and Heliobacterium gestii) were examined by spectroscopic methods, and the C30 carotene 4,4'-diaponeurosporene was found to be the dominant pigment; heliobacteria were previously thought to contain the C40 carotenoid neurosporene. In addition, trace amounts of the C30 diapocarotenes diapolycopene, diapo-zeta-carotene, diapophytofluene, and diapophytoene were also found. Up to now, diapocarotenes have been found in only three species of chemoorganotrophic bacteria, but not in phototropic organisms. Furthermore, the esterifying alcohol of bacteriochlorophyll g from all known species of heliobacteria was determined to be farnesol (C15) instead of the usual phytol (C20). Heliobacteria may be unable to produce geranylgeranyol (C20).

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