On the red coloration of saltern crystallizer ponds. II. Additional evidence for the contribution of halobacterial pigments

  • Aharon Oren
  • Zvy Dubinsky


In a previous paper we attempted to assess the contribution of red bacteria of theHalobacterium — Haloferax — Haloarcula group and of the β-carotene-rich green algaDunaliella salina to the red colour of saltern crystallizer ponds. By means of light absorption measurements, we showed that bacterioruberin contained in the bacteria was mainly responsible for the colour of the brines, in spite of the fact that β-carotene derived fromDunaliella was the pigment present in the greatest amount. This apparent discrepancy was explained by the very smallin vivo optical cross-section of β-carotene, which is densely packed in globules inside theD. salina cells. We recently observed that the centrifugation technique used in the previous study to collect biomass from the ponds was unsuitable for this type of measurements, as a substantial part of theDunaliella cells present did not sediment upon centrifugation due to the low specific gravity caused by the high β-carotene content. Therefore similar measurements were performed with biomass collected by filtration. Again,in vivo absorption spectra were dominated by the absorption peaks of bacterioruberin. The results reported here show that, in spite of the methodological problem associated with the earlier study, all views and conclusions expressed in our earlier paper retain their validity.

Key words

solar salterns Halobacterium Dunaliella bacterioruberin β-carotene 


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  1. Goldman, J.C. and Dennett, M.R. 1985. Susceptibility of some marine phytoplankton species to cell breakage during filtration and post-filtration rinsing. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 86: 47–58.Google Scholar
  2. Oren, A., Stambler, N. and Dubinsky, Z. 1992. On the red coloration of saltern crystallizer ponds. International Journal of Salt Lake Research 1 (2): 77–89.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aharon Oren
    • 1
  • Zvy Dubinsky
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Microbial and Molecular Ecology, The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, and The Moshe Shilo Center for Marine BiogeochemistryThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Life Sciences DepartmentBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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