Extreme halophilic archaea are a yet unexploited source of natural carotenoids. At elevated salinities, however, material corrosivity issues occur and the performance of analytical methods is strongly affected. The goal of this study was to develop a method for identification and downstream processing of potentially valuable bioproducts produced by archaea. To circumvent extreme salinities during analysis, a direct sample preparation method was established to selectively extract both the polar and the nonpolar lipid contents of extreme halophiles with hexane, acetone and the mixture of MeOH/MTBE/water, respectively. Halogenated solvents, as used in conventional extraction methods, were omitted because of environmental considerations and potential process scale-up. The HPLC-MS/MS method using atmospheric pressure chemical ionization was developed and tuned with three commercially available C40 carotenoid standards, covering the wide polarity range of natural carotenoids, containing different number of OH-groups. The chromatographic separation was achieved on a C30 RP-HPLC column with a MeOH/MTBE/water gradient. Polar lipids, the geometric isomers of the C50 carotenoid bacterioruberin, and vitamin MK-8 were the most valuable products found in bioreactor samples. In contrast to literature on shake flask cultivations, no anhydrous analogues of bacterioruberin, as by-products of the carotenoid biosynthesis, were detected in bioreactor samples. This study demonstrates the importance of sample preparation and the applicability of HPLC-MS/MS methods on real samples from extreme halophilic strains. Furthermore, from a biotechnological point-of-view, this study would like to reveal the relevance of using controlled and defined bioreactor cultivations instead of shake flask cultures in the early stage of potential bioproduct profiling.
- Archaeal lipids
- Controlled bioprocessing
- Preparation of biological samples
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry