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Microbiological Research
Vol. 179, 2015, Pages: 38–44

Astaxanthin from psychrotrophic Sphingomonas faeni exhibits antagonism against food-spoilage bacteria at low temperatures

Anbazhagan Mageswari, Parthiban Subramanian, Ramachandran Srinivasan, Sivashanmugam Karthikeyan, Kodiveri Muthukaliannan Gothandam

School of Bio Sciences and Technology, VIT University, Vellore 632014, Tamil Nadu, India.


Food production and processing industry holds a perpetual relationship with microorganisms and their by-products. In the present study, we aimed to identify beneficial cold-adapted bacteria devoid of any food spoilage properties and study their antagonism against common food-borne pathogens at low temperature conditions. Ten isolates were obtained on selective isolation at 5°C, which were spread across genera Pseudomonas, Sphingomonas, Psychrobacter, Leuconostoc, Rhodococcus, and Arthrobacter. Methanol extracts of strains were found to contain several bioactive metabolites. Among the studied isolates, methanol extracts of S. faeni ISY and Rhodococcus fascians CS4 were found to show antagonism against growth of Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Enterobacter aerogenes, Listeria monocytogenes and Vibrio fischeri at refrigeration temperatures. Characterization of the abundant yellow pigment in methanol extracts of S. faeni ISY through UV–Vis spectrophotometry, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry (LC-MS) revealed the presence of astaxanthin, which, owing to its presence in very large amounts and evidenced to be responsible for antagonistic activity of the solvent extract.

Keywords: Psychrotrophic bacterium; Cold active enzyme; Antimicrobial; Food spoilage; Cold storage.

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