Role of pigmentation in protecting Bacillus sp. endospores against environmental UV radiation

Authors

  • Ralf Moeller,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Radiation Biology, German Aerospace Center, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Linder Hoehem D-51147 Cologne, Germany
    2. German Collection of Microorganism and Cell Cultures, Brunswick, Germany
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  • Gerda Horneck,

    1. Department of Radiation Biology, German Aerospace Center, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Linder Hoehem D-51147 Cologne, Germany
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  • Rainer Facius,

    1. Department of Radiation Biology, German Aerospace Center, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Linder Hoehem D-51147 Cologne, Germany
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  • Erko Stackebrandt

    1. German Collection of Microorganism and Cell Cultures, Brunswick, Germany
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*Corresponding author. Tel.: +49 2203 601 3145; fax: +49 2203 61970. ralf.moeller@dlr.de, http://www.dlr.de/Strahlenbiologie, http://www.dsmz.de

Abstract

Bacillus endospores show different kinds of pigmentation. Red-pigmented spores of Bacillus atrophaeus DSM 675, dark-gray spores of B. atrophaeusT DSM 7264 and light-gray spores of B. subtilis DSM 5611 were used to study the protective role of the pigments in their resistance to defined ranges of environmental UV radiation. Spores of B. atrophaeus DSM 675 possessing a dark-red pigment were 10 times more resistant to UV-A radiation than those of the other two investigated strains, whereas the responses to the more energetic UV-B and UV-C radiation were identical in all three strains. The methanol fraction of the extracted pigment from the spores absorbs in the associated wavelength area. These results indicate that the carotene-like pigment of spores of B. atrophaeus DSM 675 affects the resistance of spores to environmental UV-A radiation.

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