Medium development and production of carotenoids and exopolysaccharides by the extremophile Rhodothermus marinus DSM16675 in glucose-based defined media

Israt Jahan Mukti, Roya R. R. Sardari, Thordis Kristjansdottir, Gudmundur O Hreggvidsson, Eva Nordberg Karlsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The marine thermophilic bacterium Rhodothermus marinus can degrade many polysaccharides which makes it interesting as a future cell factory. Progress using this bacterium has, however, been hampered by limited knowledge on media and conditions for biomass production, often resulting in low cell yields and low productivity, highlighting the need to develop conditions that allow studies of the microbe on molecular level. This study presents development of defined conditions that support growth, combined with evaluation of production of carotenoids and exopolysaccharides (EPSs) by R. marinus strain DSM 16675.

Results: Two defined media were initially prepared: one including a low addition of yeast extract (modified Wolfe’s medium) and one based on specific components (defined medium base, DMB) to which two amino acids (N and Q), were added. Cultivation trials of R. marinus DSM 16675 in shake flasks, resulted in maximum cell densities (OD620 nm) of 2.36 ± 0.057, cell dry weight (CDW) 1.2 ± 0.14 mg/L, total carotenoids 0.59 × 10–3 mg/L, and EPSs 1.72 ± 0.03 mg/L using 2 g/L glucose in DMB. In Wolfe’s medium (supplemented by 0.05 g/L yeast extract and 2.5 g/L glucose), maximum OD620 nm was 2.07 ± 0.05, CDW 1.05 ± 0.07 mg/L, total carotenoids 0.39 × 10–3 mg/L, and EPSs 1.74 ± 0.2 mg/L. Growth trials at 5 g/L glucose in these media either failed or resulted in incomplete substrate utilization. To improve reproducibility and increase substrate utilization, a screening of macroelements (e.g. phosphate) in DMB, was combined with use of trace elements and vitamins of the modified Wolfe’s medium. The resulting defined minimal R. marinus medium, (DRM), allowed reproducible cultivations to a final OD620nm of 6.6 ± 0.05, CDW 2.85 ± 0.07 mg/L, a maximum specific growth rate (µmax) of 0.26 h−1, total carotenoids 0.77 × 10–3 mg/L and EPSs 3.4 ± 0.17 mg/L in cultivations supplemented with up to 5 g/L glucose.

Conclusion: A minimal defined medium (DRM) was designed that resulted in reproducible growth and an almost doubled formation of both total carotenoids and EPSs. Such defined conditions, are necessary for systematic studies of metabolic pathways, to determine the specific requirements for growth and fully characterize metabolite production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number220
Number of pages16
JournalMicrobial Cell Factories
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct 23

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Microbiology

Free keywords

  • Carotenoids
  • Glucose/metabolism
  • Extremophiles/metabolism
  • Culture Media/chemistry
  • Trace Elements
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Polysaccharides
  • Amino Acids
  • Vitamins
  • Phosphates


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